The European Commission has launched a public consultation on draft guidelines for the preparation of sustainable development agreements in the agricultural sector

Plan działania na rzecz lepszego

From January 10 to April 24, 2023. The European Commission is holding a public consultation on draft guidelines for preparing sustainable development agreements in the agricultural sector using a new exemption from EU competition rules introduced during the recent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The guidelines prepared have to do with Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union , which generally prohibits restrictive agreements between companies that, for example, may lead to higher prices or quantitative restrictions.

As part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy from 2023 to 2027, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted in 2021. A new exemption from competition rules for agricultural products. They are contained in Regulation 2021/2117 amending Art. 210a of the Regulation on the Common Organization of Markets in Agricultural Products. The provision allows agreements to help achieve a number of sustainability goals by applying standards higher than those mandated by EU or national law. The condition for restricting competition is the impossibility of achieving the goal by other means.

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have asked the European Commission to issue guidelines on the application of this exemption. The draft clarifies how agribusiness players can prepare joint initiatives for sustainable development in accordance with Art. 210a.

The draft guidelines specifically cover the following:

  • definition of the scope of the exemption,
  • Definition of eligible sustainable development goals,
  • Defining requirements for sustainability standards,
  • A test to identify necessary competitive constraints,
  • Defining the scope of ex-post interventions.

After gathering comments on the draft guidelines from stakeholders, the European Commission in June 2023. plans to hold a workshop for public consultation participants to further discuss the project and outstanding issues. The Commission aims to adopt the guidelines by December 8, 2023.

For more information on the draft guidelines and how to submit comments, visit the website The Directorate General for Economic Affairs. Competition Commission of the European Commission.

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