468

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Date

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protecting European consumers

14-01-2019

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. One in five consumers say that they have had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including stronger cross-border cooperation ...

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. One in five consumers say that they have had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including stronger cross-border cooperation between national authorities in charge of consumer protection and market surveillance. Notably, the Commission proposed a 'new deal for consumers' in April 2018, to enable representative legal actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and to modernise EU consumer protection rules. Sector-specific efforts included: eliminating roaming charges across the EU in 2017; legislation aimed at facilitating consumer participation in the digital single market; reforms on the rules on privacy and data protection; enhancing the rights of energy consumers and passengers; and efforts to address the 'dual quality' of branded food products. The EU budget for consumer protection is relatively small, because although rules in this field are made at the EU level, their implementation and enforcement are carried out by the Member States. The consumer programme has a budget of €188 million for the 2013-2020 period, or roughly €0.05 per citizen per year. This may change in the new multiannual financial framework, as consumer protection becomes part of a wider single market programme, which is expected to create synergies between its various components. Future policies could focus on longer product lifetime, labelling and quality requirements for non-agricultural and industrial products, fairer food labelling and retail financial services.

Societal costs of “Fake news” in the Digital Single Market

14-12-2018

This in-depth analysis explores the mechanisms of “fake news” and its societal costs in the Digital Single Market. It describes the risks to the integrity of information and to the integrity of elections. It highlights the roles of the various actors involved in the production and amplification of such information disorders. Finally, it outlines responses that are being tested in different parts of Europe to deal with the issue. The document has been provided by Policy Department A at the request ...

This in-depth analysis explores the mechanisms of “fake news” and its societal costs in the Digital Single Market. It describes the risks to the integrity of information and to the integrity of elections. It highlights the roles of the various actors involved in the production and amplification of such information disorders. Finally, it outlines responses that are being tested in different parts of Europe to deal with the issue. The document has been provided by Policy Department A at the request of the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

External author

Prof. Dr. Divina Frau-Meigs

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers

13-12-2018

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal comes after a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal comes after a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal, which would amend four consumer protection directives, focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of 'free' digital services, the right of withdrawal and dual quality of products. The rapporteur’s draft report would reject those proposed changes that would weaken the right of withdrawal. It would also clarify details for transparency in search results on online marketplaces, propose further harmonisation of the maximum fines for infringements, and require the Commission to develop a mobile app that would help EU consumers to file complaints with the European Consumer Centres and the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Platform. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Transparency of EU risk assessment in food chain

05-12-2018

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the European Commission proposed to revise the transparency rules in these policy areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its December plenary session on the report of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee, and on a mandate to start ...

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the European Commission proposed to revise the transparency rules in these policy areas. The European Parliament is expected to vote during its December plenary session on the report of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee, and on a mandate to start interinstitutional negotiations.

Revising the rules on the re-use of public sector information

05-12-2018

The impact assessment presents a useful analysis of the challenges facing the field of public shared information in the EU. The emphasis on SMEs and on the improvement and simplification of the re-use of public research data is a strength of the IA. On the other hand, the range of options examined is limited and the operational objectives lack specificity. Furthermore, the views of the stakeholders could have been better reflected and their concerns in terms of use of personal data and database protection ...

The impact assessment presents a useful analysis of the challenges facing the field of public shared information in the EU. The emphasis on SMEs and on the improvement and simplification of the re-use of public research data is a strength of the IA. On the other hand, the range of options examined is limited and the operational objectives lack specificity. Furthermore, the views of the stakeholders could have been better reflected and their concerns in terms of use of personal data and database protection would have deserved to be discussed in the analysis.

Loan servicers and buyers and recovery of collateral

29-11-2018

The two IAs accompanying the proposal are similar in the knowledge base underpinning the work and the quality of data and sources. However, there seem to be qualitative differences in the way research, analysis and consultation activities were presented. In this respect, the IA on secondary markets has more room for improvement than the one on the out-of-court enforcement procedure The latter complies more fully with the Better Regulation Guidelines, for example in terms of analysis of effectiveness ...

The two IAs accompanying the proposal are similar in the knowledge base underpinning the work and the quality of data and sources. However, there seem to be qualitative differences in the way research, analysis and consultation activities were presented. In this respect, the IA on secondary markets has more room for improvement than the one on the out-of-court enforcement procedure The latter complies more fully with the Better Regulation Guidelines, for example in terms of analysis of effectiveness and efficiency, quantification, attention to social impacts and impacts on SMEs.

Case analysis: the transposition and implementation of Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights

26-11-2018

This briefing draws on the latest available data to analyse the implementation and application of Regulation 261/2004 which introduces common rules on assistance and compensation to air passengers when their travel is disrupted. The briefing explains why the European Union enacted air passenger rights and the current state of play in terms of their enjoyment. It further sets out the current legal framework before exploring its shortcomings. Finally, it gives examples of best practice and presents ...

This briefing draws on the latest available data to analyse the implementation and application of Regulation 261/2004 which introduces common rules on assistance and compensation to air passengers when their travel is disrupted. The briefing explains why the European Union enacted air passenger rights and the current state of play in terms of their enjoyment. It further sets out the current legal framework before exploring its shortcomings. Finally, it gives examples of best practice and presents some recommendations for national parliaments and EU institutions to improve the enforcement of citizens’ rights.

External author

Sara Drake, Senior Lecturer in European Union Law Cardiff School of Law and Politics

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles?

20-11-2018

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively ...

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber) are extensively using algorithms. Algorithms implicitly or explicitly are not neutral as they comprise essential value-judgments that can potentially have race or sex biases. This raises an important question: is it possible to develop and ensure that algorithms are ethical?

The European Electronic Communications Code and BEREC

07-11-2018

In order to stimulate infrastructure investment and bring the EU telecom rules up to date with technological developments and changing consumer demands and habits, the European Commission put forward two legislative proposals in 2016: a directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and a regulation on the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC). The European Parliament is expected to vote during its November I plenary session on the texts agreed with ...

In order to stimulate infrastructure investment and bring the EU telecom rules up to date with technological developments and changing consumer demands and habits, the European Commission put forward two legislative proposals in 2016: a directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and a regulation on the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC). The European Parliament is expected to vote during its November I plenary session on the texts agreed with the Council in trilogue negotiations.

Rail passengers' rights and obligations in the EU

07-11-2018

In the European Union (EU), rail passengers' rights and obligations are governed by Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007, applicable since the end of 2009, which provides for all passengers a harmonised level of information, assistance and protection. In September 2017, the European Commission adopted a new proposal which aims to strike a better balance between strengthening passengers' rights and reducing the burden on rail companies. The European Parliament is due to vote its position on this proposal ...

In the European Union (EU), rail passengers' rights and obligations are governed by Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007, applicable since the end of 2009, which provides for all passengers a harmonised level of information, assistance and protection. In September 2017, the European Commission adopted a new proposal which aims to strike a better balance between strengthening passengers' rights and reducing the burden on rail companies. The European Parliament is due to vote its position on this proposal during its November I plenary session.

Upcoming events

21-01-2019
Public Hearing on “European Added Value”
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22-01-2019
Harmonisation as a principle for Single Market legislation
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IMCO
23-01-2019
Implementation of EU Funds aimed at fighting violence against women & girls – Hearing
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FEMM

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