The European Commission’s proposal to give consumers more confidence when they shop online advanced today when EU Member States formally adopted the Consumer Rights Directive. The agreement follows a discussion at the Competitiveness Council on 10 December during which EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said the ministers’ balanced approach will strengthen both the Single Market’s functioning and consumer rights. The proposed Consumer Rights Directive is the main current legislative initiative in consumer policy. It was adopted by the European Commission in October 2008. Harmonising consumers' rights in distance sales and off-premises sales will make it easier for consumers to shop cross-border, in particular on the Internet. It will also make it less costly for traders to offer their products to consumers in other countries. Today’s breakthrough also means that businesses will benefit from lower costs, a level playing field and more legal certainty. Before taking effect, the legislation must be approved by the European Parliament. The Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI) approved amendments to the legislation last week and the consumer protection committee (IMCO) will vote in February. A vote in plenary may be held in March 2011.