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29 Jun 2011


Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Brussels, June 22nd: 

Speaking before MEPs and Commission representatives at the European Parliament, Dick Boer, Ahold CEO and ERRT President, and Andrew Morgan, President Europe Diageo and AIM President, expressed concerns about the weaknesses of the Internal Market and called for a stronger free circulation of goods and services.

Dick Boer, Ahold CEO and ERRT President, said: “The internal market is about removing the legal barriers between Member States that have been built up over the years.  These are often justified on grounds of consumer protection, or environmental protection – but they are often protectionist in effect and sometimes protectionist in intent.  The purpose of the single market is to remove that element of protectionism, be it deliberate or consequential.  ERRT has been very supportive of the re-launch of the single market programme and we urge the Commission to give this the same priority as the Delors Commission gave to the first single market programme.”

Andrew Morgan, President Europe Diageo and AIM President: “Mutual recognition has been something of a disappointment.  Ever since the Cassis-de-Dijon Case in 1979 the Treaty has been held to mean that a product lawfully put on the market in one Member State should be in free circulation within the whole EU.  Other Member States should recognise the legal requirements of the first as being sufficient to meet their own.  In practice this doesn’t happen – as can be illustrated by the recent case where Denmark prohibited the sale of Marmite.”

“It has been said that “we can’t harmonise everything.”  But if that is going to lead to the conclusion that “we can’t have a single market” then I would ask, “What’s the point?”

MEPs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SE), Cristian Silviu Buşoi (ALDE, RO) and Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK) chaired the meeting, that kicks off a series of discussions on challenges, opportunities and solutions for the European consumer goods sector operating in the Single Market. The dialogue will continue in the framework of the parliamentary Kangaroo group.

For any further information or clarification, please contact:

Paul Skehan, ERRT +32.475.388415

Alain Galaski, AIM +32.476.260.562.

Notes to Editor

*ERRT is a network of business leaders established to express the views of large retailers on a range of issues of common interest.  Their businesses operate worldwide and represent a cross-section of the retail sector.  The combined turnover of ERRT members is over €420 billion.  The retail sector in the European Union is vibrant and successful.  It makes a vital contribution to the economic and social well being of the EU.

**AIM is the European Brands Association. It represents the branded goods industries in Europe on key issues which affect the ability of brand manufacturers to design, distribute and market their brands.  AIM’s membership groups 1800 companies of all sizes through corporate members and national associations in 22 countries.



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