Civil society coalition delivers to Commissioner Barnier 40,000 petitions demanding the end of Unfair Trading Practices

On Monday 9 December over 40,000 petitions asking the EU to take action against abuses of power in supply chains were handed in by a wide coalition of European and Latin American organisations to the European Union’s (EU) Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michael Barnier. The date of the hand-in was set in the same week that the European Parliament votes in Plenary on its report on the Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices which is part of the Retail Action Plan.

3. Barnier hand-in EC all partners credited 800x533

The coalition behind the petition is strongly convinced that only a “watchdog with teeth” can end Unfair Trading Practices. Without an ombudsman with pan-European coordination capabilities to which suppliers and buyers can appeal to anonymously, abuses will continue having a negative impact on farmers and workers. Out of experience it has been proven that a voluntary initiative will not work as self-regulation has been promised since 2010 and nothing has improved over these three years. The ombudsman should also at least be capable to initiate investigations, apply sanctions, and shame the perpetrators.

The delegation that handed in the postcards and signatures included Adela Torres, Deputy Coordinator of COLSIBA – the Latin American Coordinating Body for Banana and Agro-industrial Unions. She has witnessed first-hand the impact of Unfair Trading Practices in European supply chains on workers in Latin America and came to Brussels to share her experience.

“We call on the EU to put in place a strong European framework to address abuses of buyer power in our supply chains, a market failure that often results in the violation of human rights of marginalised producers and workers” said Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The campaign was launched in 17 European and Latin American countries by a coalition of civil society organisations in Europe and trade unions in the suppliers’ countries. Coalition members are Traidcraft (UK), Via Campesina (International Peasants’ Movement), Peuples Solidaires (France), Fairfood International, Oxfam Germany, SOMO (Netherlands), TVE (Hungary), Christliche Initiative Romero (Germany), Consumers International (UK) and COLSIBA.

Commissioner Barnier chose to give a public reply to the thousands of messages. 

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