Anti-competitive behaviour of European Retail Alliances (ERAs)
Question for written answer E-005597/2021
to the Commission
Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR), Raffaele Fitto (ECR), Carmen Avram (S&D), Marc Tarabella (S&D), Alfred Sant (S&D), Paolo De Castro (S&D), Stéphanie Yon-Courtin (Renew), Jérémy Decerle (Renew), Ernest Urtasun (Verts/ALE), Claude Gruffat (Verts/ALE)
A recent ARTE documentary entitled ‘Hypermarchés, la chute de l’empire’ shed light on the anti-competitive practices of some European Retail Alliances (ERAs) towards their suppliers, including threats to de-list products, charging extortionate fees or charging for fictitious services as a condition for access to markets, which effectively amount to a market entry toll. Some ERAs therefore seem to engage in anti-competitive behaviour throughout the course of commercial negotiations by coordinating the market conduct of their members.
In its 2020 annual report on competition policy, Parliament called on the Commission to conduct an in-depth analysis of the extent and the effect of buying alliances, thereby devoting ‘special attention to guaranteeing fair competition and greater transparency in supermarket and hypermarket chains’ commercial practices, particularly where such practices affect brand value and product choice or limit innovation or price comparability’.
- 1.Does the Commission consider the current set of competition rules sufficient in order to deal with possible anti-competitive effects of ERAs? If not, how should they be changed?
- 2.What steps will the Commission take to promote competition in this area?
- 3.When will the Commission deliver on Parliament’s call for action, for example by launching an investigation into ERAs’ functioning and anti-competitive practices?