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  Unfair Commercial Practices - Archivesslide

Q & A
Questions and answers on the proposed Unfair Commercial Practices Directive , 18 June 2003
What will the Directive do in practice?
The history
Official documents
Follow-up Communication to Green Paper
Working Group of National Experts
Green paper on EU Consumer protection

The History

On 18 June 2003 the Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices. The aim of the Directive is to make consumers' rights clearer and cross-border trade simpler. Common rules and principles will give consumers the same protection against sharp business practices and rogue traders whether they buy from the shop on the corner or from a website in another country. Businesses will be able to advertise and market to all 380 million consumers in the EU in the same way as to their domestic customers. The existing multiple volumes of national rules and court rulings on commercial practices will be replaced with a single set of common rules.

The adoption of the proposal for a Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices follows on from the Commission's 2001 Green Paper on EU Consumer Protection and the 2002 Follow-up to the Green Paper. This consultation process, which included an Extended Impact Assessment, concluded that a Directive harmonising EU Member State's rules on unfair commercial practices was the best policy option.

The Council of Ministers first discussed the proposal at the November 2003 Competitiveness Council. The Commission has since applauded a successful first reading of the proposal after the adoption by the European Parliament, on 20 April 2004, of its legislative resolution on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive followed by a political agreement reached by the Competitiveness Council on 18 May 2004 and a common position agreed on 15 November 2004. The Commission adopted a Communication on the common position and this was transmitted to the European Parliament.

On 24 February 2005 the European Parliament adopted amendments to the Common Position. The Commission adopted a favourable Opinion on the European Parliament's amendments. The amendments were endorsed by the Council of Ministers in the Competitiveness Council meeting on 7 March. Commissioner Kyprianou welcomed the first full harmonisation directive in the consumer protection area: "The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive will mark a major step forward for consumers, business and the overall EU competitiveness. The Commission will take a proactive approach and work closely with the Member States in order to achieve uniform implementation and application. In doing so, we will of course also include all those who will be directly affected by this new law, both consumers and businesses." The Directive was published in the OJ on 11 June 2005.

Official Documents



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