The Manifesto of European Fresh Produce Wholesalers was presented on 23rd January at the European Parliament. It was signed by Fedagromercati as well as Spanish association COEMFE and French association UNCGFL with the support of Confcommercio's delegation at the EU and with the participation of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D) and the European People's Party (EPP).
The round table started with Salvatore Cicu, member of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, who praised the initiative that saw multiple states working together to promote the development of small and medium enterprises. "Initiatives such as this one represent a good practice because EU states share common problems and opportunities that must be faced together with the support of European institutions. "
Paolo De Castro, vice-president of the European Parliament's AGRI Commission, stressed the importance of the wholesale segment also as an alternative to the retail chain, especially for delicate questions such as that of the EU directive against unfair commercial practices to safeguard the weakest links of the food chain.
The discussion panel was moderated by Lorenzo Robustell. Fedagromercati president Valentino Di Pisa stated that the day was a great opportunity for the Federation and the entire wholesale category, which too often holds a subordinate role within the European food and agricultural system.
With this document, Fedagromercati, together with 26 associations representing 85% of entrepreneurs from the main Italian wholesale markets and 600 associate businesses, aims at relaunching the role of the sector within the European fresh produce system and promoting it on both a domestic and European level by renovating the infrastructures and logistic platforms and fostering collaboration between all the actors involved.
The wholesale market segment - which, in Italy, has a total turnover of €13 billion, with 4500 operators and 11 million quintals of products commercialized - is of crucial importance for both member states and the European Union and therefore needs a fair political and institutional recognition.
COEMFE President Andrés Suarez talked about the importance of the segment in Spain, as demonstrated by the support received by the government. UNCGFL President Christian Berthe stressed the considerable expertise of wholesale operators, who not only generate value and promote products, but also guarantee a high quality level and the compliance with European regulations.
The panel ended with interventions by MEP Angélique Delahaye, member of the European Parliament's ENVI Commission, who stressed the importance of the segment and its huge potential, and by Raimondo Serra, deputy head of DG AGRI's Unità G.2 "Vino, distillati e prodotti ortofrutticoli", who added how the markets must be involved using the tools put in place by European regulations and the CAP to deal with the retail chain.