Comment: The Future of EU Consumer Law – The End of Harmonisation?
EUROPEAN CONSUMER PROTECTION – THEORY AND PRACTICE, M. Kenny and J. Devenney, Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming
10 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2011
Date Written: December 15, 2010
The development of European Union (EU) Consumer Law has reached an important watershed. After decades of piecemeal harmonisation of selected aspects of Consumer Law, it seems the moment has been reached where the future of EU Consumer Law may lie somewhere other than in further harmonisation of national law. The trigger has been the shift in responsibility for much of EU Consumer Law from DG SANCO to DG Justice following the appointment of a new Commission in 2009, and Commissioner Reding’s willingness to open a debate as to where the priorities for EU Consumer Law should lie. Furthermore, after a period of uncertainty, it now seems that the work on the Common Frame of Reference on European Contract Law has resumed in earnest, and, more importantly, that this has once again been linked with the future development of EU Consumer Law. The Commission opened a broad debate about this in a Green Paper on Policy Options for Progress towards a European Contract Law for Consumers and Businesses in July 2010. This contribution will first take stock of the current situation regarding EU Consumer Law, before moving on to examine the various policy choices put forward in the Green Paper. It will be suggested that the overall focus for the future development of EU Consumer Law should be on cross-border transactions, and that further harmonisation of national consumer laws should be stopped.
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