347

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Towards new rules on sales and digital content: Analysis of the key issues

22-03-2017

In 2015, the Commission presented two proposals for directives: on the online sale of goods to consumers, and on the supply of digital content to consumers. The two proposals need to be analysed in the context of the existing Consumer Sales Directive from 1999, which is currently under revision as part of the REFIT exercise. If the two proposals enter into force, consumer sales transactions will be regulated by three instruments: with regard to tangible goods sold face to face – by the Consumer Sales ...

In 2015, the Commission presented two proposals for directives: on the online sale of goods to consumers, and on the supply of digital content to consumers. The two proposals need to be analysed in the context of the existing Consumer Sales Directive from 1999, which is currently under revision as part of the REFIT exercise. If the two proposals enter into force, consumer sales transactions will be regulated by three instruments: with regard to tangible goods sold face to face – by the Consumer Sales Directive, with regard to tangible goods sold at a distance – the Online Sales Directive, and with regard to the sale of digital content – the Digital Content Directive. Not surprisingly, the three texts have much in common as regards their structure and subject matter. They all deal with such issues as conformity (lack of defects), the consumer's remedies in cases of defects, the time limit for bringing such remedies and the burden of proof. They also have two other systemic issues in common: the choice between minimum and maximum harmonisation, on the one hand, and between mandatory and default rules, on the other. The existing Consumer Rights Directive is a minimum harmonisation instrument, and allows Member States to grant consumers a higher level of protection, especially when it comes to the period of seller's liability or the freedom of choice of remedies to be pursued in the event of defects. Similarly, the absence of any EU legislation specifically addressing contracts regarding the sale or rental of digital content or the provision of digital services means that Member States have been free to protect consumers to the extent they see fit. Since the two proposals are framed as maximum harmonisation instruments, the question of the exact extent of consumer rights and the way they should be exercised is crucial.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - March 2017

13-03-2017

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date (11th edition)

10-03-2017

The European Council's role - to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' - has developed rapidly over the past seven years. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery of the various commitments made in the conclusions ...

The European Council's role - to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' - has developed rapidly over the past seven years. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery of the various commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview, presented in the form of a regularly updated Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date, is designed to review the degree of progress in realising the goals which the European Council has set itself since January 2010 and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors: A Rolling Check-List of recent findings

10-03-2017

This rolling check-list presents a comprehensive overview of the European Court of Auditors' (ECA) special reports, concentrating on those relevant for the 2015 EU discharge procedure. The document seeks to link the topics discussed by the special reports to the relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including notably the working documents of the Budgetary Control Committee, to the work of the various specialised parliamentary committees, and to individual Members' questions ...

This rolling check-list presents a comprehensive overview of the European Court of Auditors' (ECA) special reports, concentrating on those relevant for the 2015 EU discharge procedure. The document seeks to link the topics discussed by the special reports to the relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including notably the working documents of the Budgetary Control Committee, to the work of the various specialised parliamentary committees, and to individual Members' questions. It is produced by the Policy Cycle Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, as part of its on-going support for parliamentary committees and individual Members, helping them to scrutinise the executive in its implementation of EU law, policies and programmes. The European Parliament is strongly committed to the concept of better law-making, and particularly to the effective use of ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation throughout the whole legislative cycle. It is in this spirit that the Parliament has a particular interest in following the transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU law, and, more generally, in monitoring the impact, operation, effectiveness and delivery of policy and programmes in practice.

CE marked fertilising products

07-03-2017

Fertilising products are used to improve plant growth, mainly in agriculture, enabling higher crop yields. However, they are associated with some challenges as regards security of supply, the environment and health. Although the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, which aimed at ensuring an internal market in fertilisers, has been effective, it mainly addresses mineral fertilisers and deters the introduction of new types of fertilisers. In March 2016, the Commission put forward a legislative proposal on ...

Fertilising products are used to improve plant growth, mainly in agriculture, enabling higher crop yields. However, they are associated with some challenges as regards security of supply, the environment and health. Although the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, which aimed at ensuring an internal market in fertilisers, has been effective, it mainly addresses mineral fertilisers and deters the introduction of new types of fertilisers. In March 2016, the Commission put forward a legislative proposal on fertilising products, as announced in the circular economy action plan. The proposal modernises the conformity assessment and market surveillance in line with the ‘new legislative framework’ for product legislation, covers a wider range of fertilising products (including those manufactured from secondary raw materials), and sets limits for the presence of heavy metals and contaminants in fertilising products. Stakeholders’ reactions have been mixed. In the European Parliament, the proposal is being considered by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee. Two further committees are associated: Environment and Public Health (ENVI) and Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI). The International Trade Committee (INTA) is also to prepare an opinion.

Contracts for supply of digital content

01-03-2017

In November 2016 the co-rapporteurs delivered their draft report on the Commission's proposal for a directive on contracts for supply of digital content. They propose to expand the directive's scope to include digital content supplied against data that consumers provide passively, while also strengthening the position of consumers as regards criteria of conformity. Objective criteria would become the default rule, with a possibility to depart from them only if the consumer's attention were explicitly ...

In November 2016 the co-rapporteurs delivered their draft report on the Commission's proposal for a directive on contracts for supply of digital content. They propose to expand the directive's scope to include digital content supplied against data that consumers provide passively, while also strengthening the position of consumers as regards criteria of conformity. Objective criteria would become the default rule, with a possibility to depart from them only if the consumer's attention were explicitly drawn to the shortcomings of the digital content. The Digital Content Directive was proposed as part of a legislative package, alongside the Online Sales Directive. The Council has favoured a fast-track for the digital content proposal, while seeking to reflect for longer on the proposed Online Sales Directive. Nonetheless, the Commission is keen not to dismantle the legislative package, and likewise the Parliament has been working on the two texts in parallel, seeking to coordinate amendments to the two proposals. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view the previous edition of this briefing, please see: PE 581.980, April 2016.

An Assessment of the Economic Impact of Brexit on the EU 27

01-03-2017

This paper, managed by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, assesses the likely impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession. For the EU 27, the losses are found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticed in the aggregate. By contrast, for the UK, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates up to ten times greater as a share of GDP. Impacts on ...

This paper, managed by the Policy Department on Economic and Scientific Policies for the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, assesses the likely impact of Brexit on EU27, together with some scenarios for the terms of the UK’s secession. For the EU 27, the losses are found to be virtually insignificant, and hardly noticed in the aggregate. By contrast, for the UK, the losses could be highly significant, with various estimates up to ten times greater as a share of GDP. Impacts on some Member States – in particular Ireland – and some sectors in the EU27 could be more pronounced than the average for the EU27.

External author

Michael Emerson, Matthias Busse, Mattia Di Salvo, Daniel Gros and Jacques Pelkmans (Centre for European Policy Studies - CEPS, Brussels, Belgium)

Wholesale roaming regulation: A precondition for 'roam like at home'

22-02-2017

In 2015 the Council and European Parliament agreed in Regulation 2015/2120 that on 15 June 2017 roaming charges for mobile phone use would be abolished in the EU. After that date, 'roam like at home' (RLAH) would become a reality for all Europeans. The regulation did not, however, address the wholesale roaming market, on account of the need to investigate market conditions in more depth. A review for the European Commission concluded that national wholesale roaming markets are not working well and ...

In 2015 the Council and European Parliament agreed in Regulation 2015/2120 that on 15 June 2017 roaming charges for mobile phone use would be abolished in the EU. After that date, 'roam like at home' (RLAH) would become a reality for all Europeans. The regulation did not, however, address the wholesale roaming market, on account of the need to investigate market conditions in more depth. A review for the European Commission concluded that national wholesale roaming markets are not working well and need regulatory intervention. It therefore proposed a regulation establishing the maximum level of wholesale roaming charges that telecoms operators can charge each other for calls, text messages and data, to take effect from 15 June 2017. On 29 November, Parliament's Industry Committee voted for a significant reduction in the data wholesale caps proposed by the Commission. During the third trilogue meeting on 31 January, an agreement was reached between the Parliament and the Council that lowers significantly the wholesale data caps originally proposed. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 595.834, 6 December 2016.

Contracts for online and other distance sales of goods

20-02-2017

The Commission proposal for a directive on contracts for online and other distance sales of goods, part of the digital single market strategy, would partly replace the existing Consumer Sales Directive. The Parliament's rapporteur believes this would create a fragmented legal framework, and that there is a need to introduce uniform rules for both online and face-to-face consumer sales. Unlike the existing Consumer Sales Directive, the proposed Online Sale of Goods Directive would provide for maximum ...

The Commission proposal for a directive on contracts for online and other distance sales of goods, part of the digital single market strategy, would partly replace the existing Consumer Sales Directive. The Parliament's rapporteur believes this would create a fragmented legal framework, and that there is a need to introduce uniform rules for both online and face-to-face consumer sales. Unlike the existing Consumer Sales Directive, the proposed Online Sale of Goods Directive would provide for maximum harmonisation, thereby prohibiting Member States from introducing a higher level of consumer protection within the scope of the directive. The rapporteur agrees with this approach and suggests moving to maximum harmonisation for both online and offline consumer sales. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view previous versions of this briefing, please see: PE 577.962, 15 February 2016.

How blockchain technology could change our lives

20-02-2017

Blockchain technology is of increasing interest to citizens, businesses and legislators across the European Union. This report is aimed at providing a point of entry for those curious about blockchain technology, so as to stimulate interest and provoke discussion around its potential impact. A general introduction is followed by a closer look at eight areas in which blockchain has been described as having a substantial potential impact. For each of these, an explanation is given of how the technology ...

Blockchain technology is of increasing interest to citizens, businesses and legislators across the European Union. This report is aimed at providing a point of entry for those curious about blockchain technology, so as to stimulate interest and provoke discussion around its potential impact. A general introduction is followed by a closer look at eight areas in which blockchain has been described as having a substantial potential impact. For each of these, an explanation is given of how the technology could be developed in that particular area, the possible impacts this development might have, and what potential policy issues are to be anticipated.

Upcoming events

27-03-2017
LIBE-FEMM hearing on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention - 27.03.2017
Hearing -
LIBE FEMM
28-03-2017
60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty
Other event -
EPRS
28-03-2017
The Future of Science through Citizens Engagement
Other event -
STOA

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