European Meat Forum Even legitimate fees can be a burden
Brussels legislators anchored the possibility of financing the regular inspections in the revised version of the EU Control Regulation.
European butchers now fear an additional financial burden for their business and further distortion of the competition in favour of large companies. The members of the International Butchers' Confederation (IBC) expressed this clearly at the 18th European Meat Forum in Brussels to members of the European Parliament and the EU Commission.
Dr. Andrea Gavinelli of the Health Directorate General of the EU Commission underlined the main aim of the new regulation (which is expected to be adopted in the spring of 2017 by the Parliament and come into force from 2020): greater transparency. If fees are charged, then the cost calculation must be open and transparent.
However, Horst Schnellhardt, former long-standing patron of the event in Brussels, pointed out a major weakness in the wording of the Regulation: the possibility to impose fees to cover costs other than those directly associated with the controls themselves. In Germany, for example, this means that the costs can be determined at the district level. The butchers need to apply pressure here.
The current patron, Dr. Renate Sommer, recognised right at the outset of the discussions on the law that the German states will exploit the possibility of charging a fee as an additional source of income. In Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia this has already happened. It is now legitimate to ask, she said, why motorists don't have to pay for alcohol tests. Here the butchers need to act at the national level, she continued. The competent rapporteur of the European Parliament, Karin Kadenbach from Austria, urged butchers to take active part in the discussions on the delegated and implementing acts.