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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protecting European consumers

28-06-2019

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. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had 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 ...

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. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had 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. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Copyright in the digital single market

14-06-2019

The European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU copyright rules, including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market, on 14 September 2016. Stakeholders and academics were strongly divided on the proposal. In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules, including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim ...

The European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU copyright rules, including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market, on 14 September 2016. Stakeholders and academics were strongly divided on the proposal. In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules, including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim remuneration for the online use of their publications (Article 15), and 2) the imposition of content monitoring measures on online platforms such as YouTube, which seeks to resolve the 'value gap' and help rights-holders to better monetise and control the distribution of their content online (Article 17). Furthermore, in addition to the mandatory exception for text and data mining for research purposes proposed by the Commission in its proposal, the co legislators agreed to enshrine in EU law another mandatory exception for general text and data mining (Article 4) in order to contribute to the development of data analytics and artificial intelligence. The European Parliament (in plenary) and the Council approved the compromise text in March 2019 and in April 2019 respectively. The directive was published on 15 May 2019 in the Official Journal of the European Union, and all Member States must transpose the new rules into their national law by June 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Fairness and transparency for business users of online services

12-04-2019

The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposed regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services in February 2019. Providers of online intermediation services (e.g. Amazon and eBay) and online search engines (e.g. Google search) will be required to implement a set of measures to ensure transparency and fairness in the contractual relations they have with online businesses (e.g. online retailers, hotels and restaurants ...

The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposed regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services in February 2019. Providers of online intermediation services (e.g. Amazon and eBay) and online search engines (e.g. Google search) will be required to implement a set of measures to ensure transparency and fairness in the contractual relations they have with online businesses (e.g. online retailers, hotels and restaurants businesses, app stores), which use such online platforms to sell and provide their services to customers in the EU. The regulation, which, inter alia, harmonises transparency rules applicable to contractual terms and conditions, ranking of goods and services and access to data, is considered to be the first regulatory attempt in the world to establish a fair, trusted and innovation-driven ecosystem in the online platform economy. Now that Member States' and Parliament's negotiators have endorsed the compromise text, the political agreement must be voted in plenary by the European Parliament and formally adopted by the Council to complete the legislative procedure.

Digital Europe programme: Funding digital transformation beyond 2020

11-02-2019

In the framework of the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, €9.2 billion programme to build up digital capacity and infrastructure and support a digital single market. It will operate mainly through coordinated and strategic co-investments with the Member States in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, their uptake and optimal use in the private and public sectors and boosting advanced digital skills. The programme ...

In the framework of the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing a new, €9.2 billion programme to build up digital capacity and infrastructure and support a digital single market. It will operate mainly through coordinated and strategic co-investments with the Member States in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, their uptake and optimal use in the private and public sectors and boosting advanced digital skills. The programme aims to help European societies and businesses to make the most of the ongoing digital transformation. The Commission sees the potential for efficiency gains in exploring complementarities and synergies with other planned programmes such as Horizon Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility and the European Regional Development and Cohesion Funds. The European Parliament adopted amendments on 13 December 2018 and referred the file back to the ITRE committee for interinstitutional negotiations. The Council reached a partial general approach, which excludes budgetary and horizontal issues, in December 2018. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Free flow of non-personal data in the European Union

25-01-2019

One of the 16 key elements of the Commission’s digital single market strategy, presented in 2015, was a legislative proposal to facilitate the free flow of non-personal data. The mid-term review of the digital single market in 2017 identified the data economy as one of the top three priority areas in the second half of the strategy’s implementation. It found the European data economy could grow 18-fold, given favourable policy and legislative conditions, representing 4 % of EU GDP by 2020. On 13 ...

One of the 16 key elements of the Commission’s digital single market strategy, presented in 2015, was a legislative proposal to facilitate the free flow of non-personal data. The mid-term review of the digital single market in 2017 identified the data economy as one of the top three priority areas in the second half of the strategy’s implementation. It found the European data economy could grow 18-fold, given favourable policy and legislative conditions, representing 4 % of EU GDP by 2020. On 13 September 2017, the Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation aimed at removing obstacles to the free movement of non-personal data across borders. It focuses on removing the geographical restrictions on data storage in the internal market, a move long demanded by stakeholders. In addition, the Commission proposes self-regulation to facilitate switching cloud-service-providers for professional users. Other, less widely agreed aspects, such as access rights and liability were left for future proposals. The European Parliament adopted the legislation on 3 October 2018 and it was approved by the Council of Ministers on 9 November. The regulation was signed by both institutions on 14 November and published in the Official Journal on 28 November. It will be directly applicable in all Member States from 18 June 2019. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Acceptance of electronic freight transport information

17-01-2019

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems ...

In freight transport, handling of paper documents creates administrative burden and inefficiency to transport logistics chains. The use of electronic documents in this respect would improve the efficiency of transport, especially in multimodal and cross-border transport, and facilitate the functioning of the single market. The IA accompanying the Commission’s legislative proposal, which aims to foster the electronic exchange of documents and information, provides a good presentation of the problems, objectives and policy options. It appears that the stakeholders’ views have been taken into account when making a choice of the preferred option. On the other hand, the IA could have explained estimated impacts of the initiative in more depth, in particular concerning the expected social and environmental impacts.

The new European electronic communications code

16-01-2019

European telecom rules were last updated in 2009. To make them fit for the digital era the Commission proposed a new Electronic Communications Code in September 2016. The provisional agreement reached in June 2018 was adopted by the Parliament and then by the Council in November 2018. Member States have until 21 December 2020 to transpose the new directive into national legislation. The new rules include measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the EU as well ...

European telecom rules were last updated in 2009. To make them fit for the digital era the Commission proposed a new Electronic Communications Code in September 2016. The provisional agreement reached in June 2018 was adopted by the Parliament and then by the Council in November 2018. Member States have until 21 December 2020 to transpose the new directive into national legislation. The new rules include measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the EU as well as new spectrum rules for mobile connectivity and 5G. The Code also ensures that all citizens have access to affordable communication, including the internet. It increases consumer protection and security for users and facilitates regulatory intervention. Furthermore, it introduces a 'reverse 112 system' which would alert citizens by text message in case of imminent serious emergencies or disasters (from June 2022). During negotiations the Parliament secured for citizens cheaper caps for intra-EU calls and SMS from 15 May 2019. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Research for CULT Committee – Film Financing and the Digital Single Market: its Future, the Role of Territoriality and New Models of Financing

15-01-2019

This report studies the role of territoriality in film financing, the legal and market challenges territoriality faces as a key model for film financing and the consequences if EU policies were to reduce or mitigate the scope of territorial exclusivity in the audiovisual sector. It provides information on Member States’ and EU models of film financing, explores the challenges film financing faces from digital developments and evolving consumer behaviour and analyses possible alternatives to traditional ...

This report studies the role of territoriality in film financing, the legal and market challenges territoriality faces as a key model for film financing and the consequences if EU policies were to reduce or mitigate the scope of territorial exclusivity in the audiovisual sector. It provides information on Member States’ and EU models of film financing, explores the challenges film financing faces from digital developments and evolving consumer behaviour and analyses possible alternatives to traditional methods of financing and policies to support this.

Parlamendiväline autor

Institute for Information Law (IViR): Joost POORT, P. Bernt HUGENHOLTZ, Peter LINDHOUT, Gijs van TIL

Ten issues to watch in 2019

08-01-2019

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal ...

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal security, trade wars, Africa, electric mobility, and the oceans.

Single digital gateway

19-12-2018

As part of the ‘compliance package’, the Commission intends to provide a single digital entry point to offer easy and efficient online access for businesses and citizens, comprising: (1) information about Union and national law and administrative requirements, (2) procedures, such as company registration, and (3) services providing assistance upon request. The portal would serve start-ups and growing companies, as well as helping companies conducting business in another country. Access to these services ...

As part of the ‘compliance package’, the Commission intends to provide a single digital entry point to offer easy and efficient online access for businesses and citizens, comprising: (1) information about Union and national law and administrative requirements, (2) procedures, such as company registration, and (3) services providing assistance upon request. The portal would serve start-ups and growing companies, as well as helping companies conducting business in another country. Access to these services would be non-discriminatory, i.e. citizens and businesses from other Member States would have full access to the information and services, and this not only in the language used in the country in which they want to do business. The proposal builds on several existing schemes, such as single points of entry at national level; these cover only a few fields, are not always interconnected, suffer from being little known and are therefore underutilised. In May 2018, trilogues concluded with a provisional agreement, which was then confirmed by both Parliament and Council. The final act was signed on 2 October 2018.

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