Revising the Consumer Acquis: (Half) Opening the Doors of the Trojan Horse

European Review of Private Law, 2008

18 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2008

See all articles by Ruth Sefton-Green

Ruth Sefton-Green

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Jacobien W. Rutgers

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law


This paper investigates the Green Paper's proposals for the revision of the acquis communautaire from the angle of public consultation. The Green Paper asks many abstract questions, however the crucial question whether Europe needs and/or wants a European Consumer Code has not been addressed. The rhetorical use of leading questions seems to lead in one direction, which is a horizontal instrument embracing maximum harmonization. The imperatives of the Green Paper are highly political and not merely technical, as the Commission seems to suggest. Only two policy oriented goals are mentioned, yet others need to be identified and pursued, such as the appropriate level of consumer protection. First this paper adopts a critical methodological enquiry to examine the Commission's leading questions technique as well as indicating that the presentation of its report on the outcome of public consultation, is not entirely neutral. Next the option of a horizontal instrument is discussed more fully. It would seem that more empirical evidence is required to convince us of that such an instrument is workable and effective. Finally, the appropriate level of harmonization: minimum or maximum is investigated. Arguments against "full targeted harmonisation" are given. It is suggested that the Commission is not telling us the full story.

Keywords: Consumer Law, European Commission

JEL Classification: K12

Suggested Citation

Sefton-Green, Ruth and Rutgers, Jacobien W., Revising the Consumer Acquis: (Half) Opening the Doors of the Trojan Horse. European Review of Private Law, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Ruth Sefton-Green (Contact Author)

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

12, place du Panthéon
Paris, IL

Jacobien W. Rutgers

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam

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