New EU rules set to hike up cost of Christmas: Supermarkets’ fury at new law

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New EU rules set to hike up cost of Christmas: Supermarkets’ fury at new law

Supermarkets including Germany's Aldi and France's Carrefour have been accused of squeezing farmers. And this week Brussels chiefs passed new laws to help EU farmers fight back against supermarkets. But there are now fears new laws will drive up the price of turkeys and Brussels sprouts, with the burden of costs on the shopper. Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan put forward the new laws in 2017 in a bid to protect farmers from alleged unfair trade practicing, including late payments and abusive contracts.

He said the “agreement paves the way for a first-time EU law which provides significant protection for all EU farmers, their organisations as well as small and mid-range businesses”.

Mr Logan added: “They will now be protected against all bigger operators acting unfairly and outside the rules.

“I would like to express my appreciation to all the negotiators, whose constructive approach and hard work ensured today's political agreement.

“I am particularly pleased that the agreement was achieved within a remarkably short eight months of the proposal's presentation by the Commission.”

Elisabeth Köstinger, Austria’s sustainability minister, said: “For the first time, there will be a binding and detailed set of rules at European level that will curb unfair practices and protect small producers.”

But supermarket chains argue that 95 percent of what they buy comes from processors, rather than farmers.

They say shoppers buy very little directly from farmers and deal with large processors such as Arla, Nestlé and Danone, instead.

Miriam Schneider of the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade, said: “I’m sure farmers will feel safer as they now have EU legislation protecting them.

“But do these unfair practices really occur between a farmer and a retailer? I'm not so sure. I think they would rather happen between a farmer and a dairy processor.

“Having said that, mid-sized companies now have the right to complain unilaterally without retailers being able to retaliate. That was what we were really fearing."

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