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Competition Policy

Sustainability agreements in agriculture – consultation on draft guidelines on antitrust exclusion

Policy field

Competition: Antitrust


Target group

All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation.

Contributions are particularly sought from:

  • stakeholders from the agri-food supply chain, in particular primary producers, including producer organisations, processors, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, input providers, as well as inter-branch organisations gathering actors from several stages in the supply chain, etc.;
  • public authorities, in particular national competition authorities, ministries of agriculture and regional authorities;
  • consumer organisations;
  • organisations dealing with sustainability (offering/developing knowledge sharing, standards, certification, etc.), including relevant civil society organisations.

In particular, contributors to the first public consultation on the guidelines (that took place in February-May 2022), are encouraged to provide their comments on the draft.


Period of consultation

From 10.01.2023 to 24.04.2023


Objective of the consultation

In 2021 the European Parliament and Council of the EU adopted a new exclusion allowing restrictions of competition for agreements in the agriculture sector if they are indispensable to achieve sustainability standards higher than EU or national mandatory standards. This exclusion is laid down in the CMO Regulation 1308/2013 forming part of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (under Article 210a of the CMO).

The Council and Parliament asked the Commission to issue guidelines concerning the conditions for the application of this exclusion by 8 December 2023.

During the period of February to May 2022, the European Commission launched a first call for evidence aimed at identifying the main concerns of relevant stakeholders on the application of Article 210a of the CMO by the Commission. Following this call for evidence, the European Commission drafted a first version of the text that is now presented to the stakeholders. The Commission will update the draft guidelines based on the feedback received, before their adoption in Q4 2023.

The stakeholders are invited to provide their views on the text. In particular, the objective is to obtain:

  • The stakeholders’ opinion on whether the draft text exhaustively addresses each one of their point of concerns regarding the way Article 210a of the CMO should be used in order to benefit from the exclusion. In particular, the European Commission is interested to know whether the draft guidelines address those points in a manner that is sufficiently clear and intelligible.
  • The stakeholders’ remarks on the content of the text. In particular, the European Commission expects to obtain the stakeholder’s views and comments on how the draft guidelines detail the scope of the exclusion, the conditions for application of the exclusion, and the possibility for Commission’s intervention. The stakeholders are invited to provide their suggestions on how the text could be enhanced.
  • The stakeholders’ views on the accuracy of the examples. The draft guidelines include many examples to illustrate their content in order to provide concrete illustrations to the reader. The stakeholders are invited to provide their opinion on whether the examples are clear and realistic enough, and to propose ways to update the examples based, for instance, on their own experience.


How to submit your contribution

We welcome contributions from citizens, organisations and public authorities.

  • If you are answering this consultation as a citizen, please click COMP-GREFFE-ANTITRUSTatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (subject: HT.6134%20-%20reply%20from%20a%20citizen) (here) to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of an organisation, please click COMP-GREFFE-ANTITRUSTatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (subject: HT.6134%20-%20reply%20from%20an%20organisation) (here) to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of a public authority, please click COMP-GREFFE-ANTITRUSTatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (subject: HT.6134%20-%20reply%20from%20a%20public%20authority) (here) to submit your contribution.

Received contributions will be published on this webpage. Submissions that are clearly marked "confidential" will be treated as such and not published. In that case please also provide a non-confidential version of your reply. It is important to read the privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

When providing us with the documents requested above, please ensure that redactions made by you properly cover all confidential information and cannot be reversed.

Please note that we cannot guarantee to take account of replies received after the deadline.
We would appreciate receiving documents in an electronic format.


Consultation documents


Reference documents and other related consultations


Results of the public consultation

Download the non-confidential replies to the consultation.


Contact details

Responsible service:
Directorate-General for Competition – Unit E5
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development – Unit E1
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: HT.6134.

COMP-E5-MAILatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (COMP-E5-MAIL[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)
AGRI-E1atec [dot] europa [dot] eu (AGRI-E1[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).

Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
Unit E5
Place Madou 1,
1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode,
Belgique /België

European Commission
Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
Unit E1
Rue de la Loi 130,
1040 Bruxelles,
Belgique / België


View the contributions

In the interests of transparency, organisations have been invited to provide the public with relevant information about themselves by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct. If the organisation is not registered, the submission is published separately from the registered organisations.