In particular, the draft Guidelines: (i) define the scope of the exclusion; (ii) define the eligible sustainability objectives; (iii) set requirements for sustainability standards; (iv) set the test to identify indispensable restrictions to competition, and (v) define the scope for ex-post intervention.
Following the comments by the interested parties on the draft Guidelines, the Commission will carefully analyse those and implement any necessary changes with a view of having the Guidelines in place by 8 December 2023.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Agricultural production is currently facing significant sustainability challenges ranging from animal welfare and biodiversity to natural resources, health and climate change. We want to make sure that operators in the agri-food sector can design joint sustainability initiatives to tackle these challenges while respecting our competition rules. We now invite all interested parties to share their views on our proposal.”
Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, said: “The transition to more resilient and sustainable agricultural production requires reinforced co-operation within the actors of the whole supply chain, ensuring that farmers get a fair economic returns for their efforts to enhance sustainability of their production beyond what is currently mandatory. We hope that the farmers together with other actors of the supply chain will make use of this exclusion when designing their sustainability agreements.”