European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti has warned large northern European agricultural production cooperatives that they may in future be targeted by the European Commission to reduce their market power.

In a speech to EU agricultural organisation COGECA, Monti said European rules limiting the freedom of action of large economic players deemed to have a "dominant position" in a sector should apply to large cooperatives. He noted some national farming cooperatives command market shares of 64-90%.

These "cooperatives may hold a dominant position," he said, noting he could "see no reason why competition rules should not apply if such a cooperative abuses its dominance," for instance by manipulating prices.