BELGIUM, Brussels. FoodDrinkEurope is turning to the EU Commission with a call for help. Endangered companies would have to be protected and the movement of goods secured.
The umbrella organisation of the European food industry (FoodDrinkEurope) has warned of food supply bottlenecks. The association's Director General, Mella Frewen, therefore wrote to the Brussels Commission to call for the implementation of a five-point plan. Specifically, FoodDrinkEurope insists on the recognition of the entire food supply chain as "essential", on support for companies and their workforces that have run into difficulties as a result of the crisis. In addition, everything possible must be done to avoid bottlenecks in the transport of food; even world trade, which has come to a standstill, must be stimulated again.
The Commission is urged to work with the Member States to develop comprehensive emergency measures for the food sector to minimise the financial impact on food companies and thus preserve jobs. In addition, he said that the Commission is counting on the creation of a "flexible and pragmatic" regulatory environment to support vulnerable businesses in these times of crisis.
With a view to world trade, FoodDrinkEurope is urging the Brussels agency to hold bilateral talks with key trading partners to facilitate trade in food and drink and essential ingredients. It also calls for increased international cooperation to ensure the continued global transfer of goods. The biggest drop in sales since the coronavirus outbreak was recorded by the EU food industry in exports to the Asian region, especially in trade with China.
Furthermore, according to FoodDrinkEurope, all Member States should be encouraged to rapidly introduce priority "green lanes" for food trucks at intra-European borders. The decision of the Council of Transport Ministers to relax the driving ban at weekends should be implemented quickly. It was also important to harmonise border crossing protocols in the EU.
Furthermore, the umbrella organisation is calling for EU-wide special rules and privileges for workers in the food sector - similar to the exemption rules for medical staff. The Member States should submit appropriate guidelines on this. This demand is justified by the importance of maintaining the food supply.