At their recent social dialogue plenary meeting, the social partners CEFS and EFFAT, representing respectively employers and workers of the European sugar sector, expressed their concerns about the difficult economic situation that the sector is facing, with many social risks and economic uncertainties ahead of the end of the quota system in 2017.

The social partners welcomed the efforts by the European Commission to set up an Expert group, following the debate held at the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers on 26 January, in which several Ministers supported Italy’s call regarding measures which would ensure a smooth transition towards ending the current sugar quota system in 2017.

In this spirit, the social partners voiced that the Expert group should seize the opportunity to raise the discussions to the political level to take stock of the end of the quota system.

“During the past 30 years, the EU social dialogue in the sugar sector has strongly contributed to the success of important reforms in the common market organisation of the sector. The European social partners intend to continue contributing constructively to the implementation of the current reform. But the social partners count on the EU Council and on the Commission to give a clear signal that they will give the European sugar sector the lift it needs to steer beyond a potentially very serious social and economic crisis” stated CEFS and EFFAT Presidents in the sugar sector.