There will ultimately be no cap on the price of the shopping basket. Only a week has lasted the trial balloon that the Government launched with the plan to limit the price of certain basic foods to lower their cost in a context of runaway price increases that have pierced the pockets of the lowest incomes in the last year .
As recognized by the Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, after her meeting with the main associations of consumers and distributors, the ceiling on the price of these basic products has not been put on the table and what is It is about seeking an "agreement" between companies and users to make a group of selected products more accessible.
However, as ABC has learned from negotiation sources, the Government's position has regressed significantly from the initial approach, which passed through that limit on food. In fact, sources of the negotiation assure that both Díaz and the Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, saw a certain legal route to the price cap as long as it was approached from a prism of exceptionality and in a specific time frame.
These sources assure that the Government's plan is that this exceptional umbrella on which these commercial offers could be promoted would go until December 31. And they also confirm that, indeed, the plan remains there: encourage companies to prepare food offer packages.
The president of the CEOE, Antonio Garmendi, already warned this Monday in an interview with ABC that Minister Díaz's approach bordered on "Soviet rationing" and recalled that if a similar operation was carried out in the sixth private price agreement it would be a illegality and that Competition would impose "a million dollar fine".
In fact, as this medium is exclusively public, the CNMV questions the legality of the measure. They recall that Spanish and European law explicitly prohibit these price agreements for assuming the formation of a cartel. And they assure that they will monitor the proposal and ensure free competition, sanctioning illegal practices.
Thus, sources of the negotiation assure that the big distributors (put the names) have rejected the fixing of prices before Minister Díaz and Minister Garzón. Although they confirm that the Executive sat at the table aware of the possibility of falling into a competition problem. And there was no ironclad stance to push in the direction of pricing.
In short, the plan falls flat. It will remain in a media pressure campaign to pressure the large distributors to prepare food offer packages. Each one will make an offer according to their possibilities. Just as Carrefour has already done with its proposal of 30 products for 30 euros.
The three parties, the Government, distributors and consumers, are pending a new meeting to be held after the G20 meeting. Until then, the slogan is that companies make baskets on offer and that they do so under food quality parameters. The Government asks that they contain fresh and unprocessed foods, and that a similar offer be made for celiacs.
Regarding the small distributors, the Government assures that the plan "is not against them" and Díaz asks that they be protected and continue consuming in small surfaces.
However, the distribution sector doubt about the impact on small businesses. Sources consulted by ABC explain that it is the point that raises the most discrepancy in the negotiation. Since the big companies think that the smaller ones will not be able to afford similar offers and that it could drive away customers from these businesses in search of the baskets on offer.