Europe's Master Butcher discussed EU's politics

by Editor
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IBC Council’s meeting in Paris
The delegates of the International Butchers’ Confederation’s (IBC) member federations met in Paris for their spring session. For the Council’s meeting, the new President of the IBC, Jean-Marie Oswald from Luxembourg, welcomed representatives of the following countries: Belgium, Germany, England, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

The first official act of the new President was a solemn act: he nominated his predecessor Eugen Nagel first IBC honorary President and handed over to him a certificate over his merits for the European craft butcher and catering sector. Eugen Nagel had been President of the IBC for four years. Oswald highlighted the main lobbying achievements under the chair of Nagel, among which: simplified approval conditions for the craft butcher and catering businesses in the framework of the negotiations of the new hygiene package, HACCP schemes adapted to those businesses and the simplification of beef labelling.

Also for one of the two Vice-Presidents, Pat Brady from Ireland, the term of office ended after four years, as fore-seen in the articles of association. Oswald thanked Pat Brady who unfortunately could not be present, for his contribution to the work of the IBC. Jacques Kraft (CFBCT) from France now fills in the position of Pat Brady. The second Vice-President, Dr. Reinhard Kainz from Austria, will remain in office for another term of two years.

IBC-Secretary General Martin Fuchs sensitized the delegates to an initiative of the European craft butcher and catering sector aimed at obtaining that service packages will not fall under the scope of the European package directive. Indeed, in many Member States, the craft sector must cope with disproportionate burdens due to the obligation to collect, record and treat those services packages. Mr Fuchs also reported on the European Commission consultation on the foreseen European rules for small businesses, the „Small Business Act“. This European initiative aims at setting in place better frame conditions for small businesses, eg. through reducing adminis-trative burdens or simplifying the access to financial aids. Fuchs invited the IBC member federations to also get nationally involved in the Commission online-consultation. The delegates moreover decided to draft a „Small Business Food Act“ of the European craft butcher and catering sector and to put it forth in the consultation process in Brussels.

The Managing Director of the Secretariat General, Kirsten Diessner, informed on the state of play and the IBC lobbying activities regarding the present European legislation, namely as regards the TSE/BSE legislation, the revision of the European slaughter directive, HACCP and additives for the manufacturing of organic meat products. Diessner presented the details of the brand new European Commission draft proposal for the revision of food labelling legislation and nutrition labelling. The delegates decided, as a next step, to put forth an IBC position in the legislative process which now starts in Brussels.

The participants were very much interested in the explanations given by two guest speakers: Véronique Foucault, in charge of the press and public relations at the CFBCT, impressed the delegates with her presentation of the successful scheme „24 h chez mon boucher“ („24 hours at my butcher’s“), a scheme of the French federation aimed at recruiting young people. To find young people and get them interested in the butcher and catering business is a challenge which the whole sector has to face all over Europe in the same way.

Heidrun Bichler-Ripfel of the Vienna food academy presented the Austrian cooperation project between the food sector and agriculture which is carried out in the framework of the European rural development plan 2007 - 2013. The participants were very much interested in the project which focusses on regional issues. By the end of the meeting, the delegates had their traditional in-depth exchange of views, especially regarding their main national problems concerning hygiene and the costs for the disposal of animal by-products.