SME Chamber

News From Our Representative Organisations In Brussels

TCAs: no need
for new EU initiatives in the field, say SMEs – UEAPME replied to a public consultation
by the European Commission on the future of transnational company agreements
(TCAs), i.e. cross-border agreements covering working and employment conditions
and/or relations between employers and workers or their representatives.
According to UEAPME, there is no need for further initiatives on this issue at
European level.

The fact that the number of transnational company agreements
increased in the last years clearly shows that they can develop further without
any new specific actions, said UEAPME. The association also does not support
the creation of a mechanism aiming at clarifying the legal effects of TCAs and
does not see as useful the introduction of an EU-wide framework. On the other
hand, the continuation of the searchable database of TCAs put in place by the
European Commission is welcome, and the development of guidelines for the
promotion of good practices could be helpful, wrote UEAPME.

Commission launches study on choice and innovation in food sector

The European Commission is launching a
study to assess the impact of recent developments in the European retail sector
on consumers. Following calls by stakeholders, the Commission will examine,
whether increased concentration and the use of own brand (private label)
products have hampered choice and innovation in the European food sector. The
Commission invites interested expert researchers to submit proposals to its
call for tenders by 14 February 2013. The final report of the study is expected
by the end of 2013. The Commission will evaluate the results and may put
forward proposals to improve the functioning of European food markets.

Commission Vice President in charge of
competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "Many stakeholders argue that
European food markets do not work well, but we need more comprehensive data to
assess these claims. Therefore, we have decided to carry out a detailed study
to find out whether European consumers enjoy sufficient choice and innovative
products adapted to their needs when buying food. This will help us determine
how to best solve these problems."

The retail sector has become more
concentrated over the last years. In parallel, retailers have introduced their
own brands, which are increasingly successful. 
The European Parliament, consumer organisations, national competition
authorities and food producers claim that this limits investment and variety in
the food supply chain, ultimately to the detriment of the final consumer. 


EU strategy on alcohol: the
EAHC/2012/Health/06 contract concerning "Action to prevent and reduce harm from
alcohol" was awarded and will be implemented in 2013. The purpose of the
contract is to contribute to the protection of children and young people from
harmful alcohol consumption by collecting and disseminating good practice. 

Lot 1: Good practice in Member States (by
MS authorities) to enhance compliance with minimum age limits for selling or
serving alcoholic beverages. Examples of good practices will be collected and
the exchange and dissemination of good practices will be facilitated.

Lot 2: State of play in the use of
alcoholic beverage labels to inform consumers about health aspects. The
objective is to contribute to a comprehensive picture through fieldwork to
gather representative samples of alcoholic beverage packages from retail
outlets across the Member States to assess the effectiveness of health-related
information provided on them.

The contract for lot 2 was awarded to
Significant GfK (ttp://

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