There can be no second-class products, nor consumers, in the EU, say S&D
The S&D Group led today an overwhelming majority in the internal market parliamentary committee to ensure that there are no double standards in the quality of food and other consumer products between western and eastern European member states. S&D MEPs denounced the sale of seemingly identical products of lower quality, in some European countries as unfair and dangerous behaviour. They vowed to work towards finding European solutions that treat European consumers as equals and deserving regardless of their country of residence. The European Parliament will vote on the report in the plenary in September.
S&D spokesperson on the dual quality of products report, Olga Sehnalová MEP, said:
“The sale of lower quality food and products in some member states, despite the packaging and branding being seemingly identical, is shameful. Not only is this unfair behaviour, but it also undermines citizens’ confidence in the fair functioning of the EU internal market. Such practices are dangerous and must thus be banned immediately! We can no longer accept that some European consumers are treated as being inferior to their fellow Europeans.
“It goes without saying that a product under the same brand and packaging should have the same composition across the EU. Should, however, a manufacturer wish to offer customised products, consumers should be aware of this adjustment for each individual product. Customisation cannot be an excuse for lower quality products. European consumers have the right to know what they and their families are consuming.
“Today’s vote in the internal market committee is a victory for us Socialists and Democrats. After the seven years that we have been fighting against dual quality food, the European Parliament finally acknowledges that this problem does exist in the EU. Now it is time to work towards finding effective European solutions. The revision of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) would be a first step. More specifically, the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ proposal is a good starting point, but in order for it to work effectively, several clarifications need to be made.”
Momchil Nekov MEP, the S&D negotiator on behalf of the agriculture committee, said:
“The practice of ‘one brand, one product, different content and composition’ has to be stopped! Slow or no action at EU level is no longer an option. We have to make sure there are no second-class European citizens as far as food products are concerned. The same packaging has to contain the same product whether the buyer is in Sofia or Stockholm.”
Biljana Borzan MEP, the S&D negotiator on behalf of the health and environment committee, added:
“Studies have shown that seemingly identical food products can be of different quality and less healthy in some countries. That is especially worrying when it comes to vulnerable consumers such as babies and people with dietary or health issues. Existing EU legislation has proven to be inadequate to tackle this issue. We call for the revision of UCPD and legislation on labelling to provide all European consumers with same quality products and clear and easily accessible information.”