Collective redress: consumer rights better protected in Europe
Renew Europe welcomes the adoption of the Directive on the Representative action for the protection of collective interests of consumers, which includes all our group's main priorities.
The Dieselgate scandal in 2015 revealed the impossibility for aggrieved European consumer to seek legal redress. The newly introduced mechanism will fill this gap. From flight annulations to privacy infringements: from now on, all European consumers can be represented by independent qualified bodies, who can defend their rights in court. These not-for-profit entities will be able to take legal action in both national and cross-border disputes. Collective redress thus guarantees the enforcement of European consumer law across Europe.
Renew Europe has paid particular attention to the balance of the system in order to avoid abuses of the American-style class action system. It is essential that the legitimate rights of consumers can be exercised while ensuring legal certainty for businesses.
The Directive is only a first step. During its review, Renew Europe will pay particular attention to the effective implementation of the Commission's proposal and the ways in which the functioning of the mechanism could be improved, for example by entrusting the European Ombudsman with a coordinator function.
MEP Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD, The Netherlands), Shadow rapporteur and negotiator for Renew Europe:
“The EU internal market enables us to shop for services and products across European borders more and more. But when we do so, our consumer rights should be protected in the same way as if we were buying something in our local shop, especially when a service or product does not live up to its promises. You can think of the misuse of personal data, negligent financial services or unsafe products. The new European rules will make it easier for consumers to file a joint complaint and demand compensation for their damages together, while creating legal certainty for business. Additionally, these collective actions are good incentives for companies to comply with consumer laws, ensuring fair competition in the internal market. A true win-win!”