With participants from the European Commission (DG AGRI), German Federal Competition Authority, German Farmers' Association (DBV), German Diary Association (MIV), North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry and Metro AG, the summit tried to explore the questions of whether the new EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices will help the dairy sector, especially the milk producers to stabilize their incomes, how the wholesale and retail companies will be affected and what needs to be adjusted in terms of competition law.
While global demand for milk and dairy products keeps on increasing, production growth declined in 2018 due to weather conditions. Nevertheless in the EU, the milk production is expected to grow by 0.7 % in 2019 due to sustained demand.
Although the initial intention of the Commission proposal was the protection of farmers, the UTP agreement reached by the EU institutions in December 2018, has extended the scope to suppliers and food processors with a turnover up to €350 million with no guarantee that any benefit gained by such processors will be passed onto farmers. While the Directive protects suppliers from buyers, there is no reciprocal approach; hence it discriminates against buyers in terms of equality before the law.