Greece urges EU defend consumers against multinationals | World News - Hindustan Times
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Greece urges EU defend consumers against multinationals

AFP |
May 20, 2024 05:45 PM IST

Greece urges EU defend consumers against multinationals

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on the EU to take on multinationals unfairly restricting the sale of goods in the single market, leading to higher prices for struggling consumers.

Greece urges EU defend consumers against multinationals
Greece urges EU defend consumers against multinationals

The call comes ahead of the European Parliament elections next month where the erosion of purchasing power by inflation is a key issue for voters.

"The ongoing inflationary crisis across the European continent has also highlighted significant and long-standing problems in the functioning of the markets in essential consumer goods," Mitsotakis wrote, in a letter sent over the weekend to European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and released by his office.

Consumers in Greece and other EU countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands are often faced with "unreasonably high prices at which branded essential consumer goods from multinational companies are sold, compared to other European Union countries," he wrote.

Large multinationals often apply so-called territorial supply constraints, limiting the free exchange of their goods within the EU's single market.

While these constraints are in certain cases legal for example to ensure important consumer information in local languages they can also be used in ways that can be considered unfair trade practices.

The EU notably cracked down on AB Inbev, fining it 200 million euros in 2019 for taking numerous actions to prevent Belgian supermarkets and wholesalers from importing cheaper Jupiler beer from the Netherlands.

A 2020 EU study found that the restrictions were leading to considerable unjustified price differences between various countries and could be costing consumers an additional 14 billion euros per year.

"These differences affect European citizens' trust in the Single Market and prevent them from enjoying its day-to-day benefits," wrote Mitsotakis, who called for new legislation to clamp down on the practice.

The EU must be able to "intervene decisively, swiftly and effectively in order to find solutions to these problems," he added.

The cost of living is a top issue in Greece, where minimum wages are at the lower end of the scale in the EU, with the country in 21st place in the 27-nation bloc, according to Eurostat data.

Mitsotakis's conservative New Democracy party is part of the European People's Party in the European Parliament, as is von der Leyen's Christian Democratic Union in Germany.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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