Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Naughty Member States

Last week the European Commission again let us know which countries infringe existing European consumer protection rules and what it was going to do about this. The relevant infringements concerned:

  • Poland: hindering EU consumers in participating in judicial proceedings taking place in Poland, infringing the Regulation on the service of documents (1393/2007) in cross-border cases. Namely, Polish law requires EU citizens to appoint a representative in Poland for the service of documents in civil and commercial proceedings in Poland. If a representative is not appointed, the documents are deposited at court and deemed as having been served. This means that EU citizens may even not known that documents have been deposited at court against them. EU sees it as an indirect discrimination on the grounds of nationality and gives Poland two months to adjust its law.
  •  Denmark: endangering consumer health by allowing the sale of snus (oral tobacco, consumed without chewing or smoking by placing between the gum and the lip) in loose portions. The sale of snus is banned in Europe with exception of Sweden. Denmark has two months to ban this sort of sale.
  • Poland (again): not adhering to the European common framework regulating the way airport charges are set. Poland failed to implement common rules on airport charges, which brings economic harm not only to airlines who may be asked to pay more for taking-off and landing in Poland but also passengers, who would ultimately be charged with these costs. EC referred Poland to the CJEU for missing the implementation deadline of 15 March 2011. Daily penalty may be imposed on Poland until the EU rules are adopted.
  • Slovenia and Poland (again): not fully transposing the EU internal energy market rules (Electricity Directive and Gas Directive). A proper implementation of these EU rules was supposed to guarantee a secure energy supply at affordable prices to consumers. Both countries are referred to the CJEU at the moment and face daily penalties until they adjust their legislation.

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