PositionGovernment Activity

Summary:Arnold Van Hecke, the head of Caobisco, which represents European cocoa product crushers, appeared crushed by the failure by EU Ministers to agree, on June 21 in Luxembourg, on the so-called "Chocolate" Directive. "It is a huge disappointment. We were very close to an agreement, when, because of a last-minute question of general policy, the arrangement was undermined", he said. This concern was echoed by Fediol, which represents the EU oil mill industry whose head, Pascal Coghens, regreted that after making a number of concessions, the oil mill industry has not been rewarded by seeing the Directive get adopted. Both organisations are planing to lobby the European Commission to quickly resume work on the issue and try to find a compromise on the tricky question of the Commission's implementation powers. This prickly subject was the reason why the EU decided to postpone adopting the "chocolate" Directive.

The issue ran aground over the highly sensitive question of the European Commission's implementation powers. The compromise the German Presidency proposed to EU Internal Affairs Ministers, on June 21 in Luxembourg, sought to meet France's demand that any future changes made to the Directive to reflect technical progress (in this case a change to the list of vegetables fats other than cocoa butter authorised to be added to chocolate products) would have to pass through the normal legislative channels (proposal to the Commission, presentation to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, and so on) and not via committees answerable to the Commission (in this case the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs). Owing to this concession, the Commission resisted the compromise, deeming it to be an unacceptable attack on is implementation powers, and the proposal was unable to muster the unanimous support required.

-- The draft amendment of the so-called "chocolate" Directive recognises the scope for products containing up to 5% by total weight of...

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