Consumers and businesses alike should reap the benefits of new consumer rights legislation in Europe, with years of negotiations set to conclude with the approval by the European Parliament on Thursday (23 June) of the EU's Consumer Rights Directive.Last week (16 June), the Parliament's internal market and consumer protection (IMCO) committee backed at first reading a compromise agreement on the draft law reached on 6 June between representatives of all three EU institutions, paving the way for this week's first-reading vote in plenary.
'Win-win' situation for businesses, consumers
"Consumers and businesses will equally win. We are a big step closer to a truly common internal market in Europe," said German centre-right MEP Andreas Schwab (European People's Party), who is steering the directive through the Parliament, ahead of the vote.
Describing the directive as "a good compromise between necessary consumer rights and justified business interests," Schwab said it would serve as an example of where "more Europe" benefits shoppers and traders alike.
Brussels has been wrestling with the legislation since it was first tabled by the European Commission back in 2008 (see ‘Background').
"More safety for consumers shopping online and common rules for businesses – these are the headlines of the political agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the Consumer Rights Directive," said Schwab.
An EU-wide right for consumers to change their minds about purchase decisions within two weeks and clearer pricing rules for Internet sales were among changes made to the draft legislation by representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and member states in trialogue talks earlier this month.
That deal was backed unanimously by the IMCO committee with 28 votes in favour, none against and three abstentions.