Commercial negotiations: Egalim laws must be respected “until the last kilometer”, says Agnès Pannier-Runacher

Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, February 20, 2024 in Paris (AFP/Bertrand GUAY)

The Minister Delegate for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty assured Tuesday the government’s determination to enforce the Egalim laws, supposed to guarantee decent remuneration to farmers, which was recalled during a committee monitoring trade negotiations.

“The law is respected up to a certain level and it is precisely the work that we are doing with the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau and the Minister of the Economy to ensure that it is respected until the last kilometer “, indicated Agnès Pannier-Runacher on RMC.

Representatives of farmers, agri-food manufacturers and mass retailers met on Tuesday morning in a committee to monitor commercial negotiations, four days before the Agricultural Show and in the midst of agricultural anger, around four ministers, that of Economy Bruno Le Maire, Ms. Pannier-Runacher, Mr. Fesneau and the Minister for Commerce, Olivia Grégoire.

The committee which aimed to “guarantee the proper application of the Egalim laws”, supposed to prevent farmers from selling at prices lower than their production costs, was held in a “serene climate”, according to the Federation of Commerce and Industry. distribution (FCD) and the National Association of Food Industries (Ania).

“We remain waiting for potential announcements from Matignon tomorrow” in particular on possible sanctions, however, underlines the president of Ania Jean-Philippe André to AFP.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will hold a press conference dedicated to the agricultural crisis on Wednesday in Matignon. “He will return to the trade negotiations and Egalim,” said the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday morning.

On the side of the FNSEA, its second vice-president Patrick Bénézit denounces to the AFP “a tongue-in-cheek speech on the part of the distributors”, considering that “almost all” of them “violated the spirit of the laws Egalim, that is to say that farmers are paid at the level of their cost of production.

“There is a sort of denial of reality on the part of mass distribution players and certain industrialists around the situation experienced by farmers,” points out the Ministry of Agriculture to AFP after the monitoring committee Tuesday morning.

The government plans to demand “accounts from manufacturers” and “large retailers”, in the event of a “lag” between the Egalim laws and their application, explained the delegate minister on RMC.

“This is what we did for example with Lactalis”, indicated Agnès Pannier-Runacher, maintaining that the group has “already released a price increase (…), so we see that Egalim, it works”, assured the minister, in reference to the increase of 0.15 cents per liter proposed by the global milk giant to its producers – which the latter refused.

Following the angry movement of farmers at the end of January and beginning of February, the government announced that it wanted to strengthen control of contracts signed as part of negotiations between distributors and manufacturers.

Bruno Le Maire announced on February 5 that he had identified 124 contracts signed between manufacturers and distributors as part of commercial negotiations that did not respect the law, and that he had sent injunctions to force the companies concerned to comply.

© 2024 AFP

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