The exchange of goods and services is governed by contract law. Problems in relation to using, agreeing, interpreting and applying contracts in cross-border transactions may therefore affect the smooth functioning of the internal market.
To date the EC legislator has aimed to address problems in contracting in the Internal market by adopting measures relating to specific contracts or sectors. This sector-specific approach has, however, not been able to solve a number of problems. The European Parliament and Council have consistently affirmed the need for greater coherence in order to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market.
The European Commission has undertaken a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the overall coherence of European contract law:
The Common Frame of Reference (CFR) is a long-term project which aims at providing the European Legislators (Commission, Council and European Parliament) with a "toolbox" or a handbook to be used for the revision of existing and the preparation of new legislation in the area of contract law. This toolbox could contain fundamental principles of contract law, definitions of key concepts and model provisions.
In the area of consumer contract law the preparatory work for the CFR of the researchers and of stakeholders has already served as a starting point for the Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis, adopted by the Commission on 8 February 2007.
EC Consumer Law Compendium: a Comparative Analysis and a database of the EU Consumer Law Acquis