This report has been written in the framework of the EU-funded research project “Support for Farmers’ Cooperatives”. This project was commissioned by the European Commission DG Agriculture and Rural Development, and carried out in 2011 and 2012 by a large consortium of researchers from various European universities and research institutes. The main objective of the EU wide research project is to provide insights on successful cooperatives and producer organisations as well as on effective support measures for these organisations. These insights can be used by farmers themselves, in setting up and strengthening their collective organisation, and by the Commission in its effort to encourage the creation of agricultural producer organisations in the EU. In the context of this research project, data has been collected in all of the 27 Member States of the European Union, on the evolution and development of agricultural cooperatives and producer organisations, but also on the policy measure and legal aspects that affect the performance of these organisations. This data has been one of the main sources of information for this report. In addition, other literature on the topic has been used to assess the situation in one or more EU member states or in particular sectors of the European agrifood industry. This report provides an EU wide analysis and synthesis of the legal aspects of the creation and functioning of agricultural producers organisations and cooperatives, in particular in the field of business organisational law, the regulation of taxation of agricultural producer organisations and its members, and the regulation of competition law.
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