New EU justice commissioner will push ahead with the controversial “consumer rights directive“

In a presentation of her priorities for the next five years, new EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that she will push ahead with the controversial “consumer rights directive”. The directive seeks to harmonize consumer law throughout the EU. It encompasses for example cooling-off periods or rights to return goods.

Mrs Reding emphasised that: “The current status quo of minimum harmonisation in the existing consumer protection directives does not come close to establishing a real single market for businesses and consumers. The Commission supports a maximum level of harmonisation of consumer rights laws across the EU. This regime will give businesses the certainty they need to sell products anywhere in the EU.”

Consumer organizations throughout Europe have been critical of the proposal. They criticise that a full harmonization would not allow higher national standards for consumer protection. Beuc, the umbrella organisation of European consumer groups, believes that an “ideological approach” to maximum harmonization would be detrimental.


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