Thursday, 16 September 2010

Commissioner Reding on harmonising contract and consumer law across EU

Very interesting speech - plans for a new Directive in 2011 if it is adopted by the Council of Ministers on 10 December - watch this space!

We must fully harmonise these specific rules to allow distance traders and direct sellers to move beyond their national borders. For example, EU rules on the proposed 14-day cooling off period and standard withdrawal forms will give distance traders and direct sellers the legal certainty they need for simplified cross-border trade, while at the same time giving consumers certainty that the cooling off period is the same from wherever they purchase a product in Europe. 
Contract law: As Justice Commissioner in charge of civil and commercial law, I also know that beyond the Consumer Rights Directive, there remains a fundamental discussion about the divergences between national contract laws. That is why just before the summer, the Commission proposed several policy options for a possible European contract law. This important public consultation runs until the end of January 2011. The first priority is cutting red tape. This goes for businesses and consumers. For businesses: It's clear why they are reluctant to trade across borders. There are differences between national contract laws that entail additional transaction costs, fees and further legal uncertainty.