Friday, 30 April 2010

Proposta di direttiva CE sui diritti dei consumatori – the way forward?

In her speech of 15 March 2010 (see earlier post on this blog) EU Commissioner Viviane Reding stated that the process of review of the Consumer Rights Directive needs a “rational calculation” in order to do justice to the interests of both businesses and consumers. The question is: how should we go about this? Now that the proposal is under review with the Commission and is expected to come before the European Parliament in the near future, it is a good time for reassessment. The challenge was taken up at a conference at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa on 28-29 April. Under the title “La proposta di direttiva CE sui diritti dei consumatori e il suo impatto sul codice del consumo”, views were exchanged on the potential impact of the Directive on national laws, with particular attention for the Italian consumer code. The main difficulties of the original proposal remain:
• Should the degree of harmonisation aimed for be full, or maximum harmonisation? If so, which issues should be “targeted”: the technical ones only (e.g. information requirements to consumers, length of withdrawal periods) or also substantive issues (e.g. remedies)?
• Would there be a benefit in limiting the Directive’s scope to online transactions, as opposed to face-to-face transactions?
• What does the Directive, and the review process in European consumer law in general, tell us about the place of consumer law in relation to general contract law? In particular, should not more attention be given to the Draft Common Frame of Reference (DCFR) in the review process?
• Which policies prevail in European consumer law (e.g. internal market policy, consumer protection policy) and should they be the guidelines for future legislation?
More conferences are on the horizon… The Commission has taken up earlier academic input on the review of consumer law, so for those who have an interest in the process: now is the time!

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