Ahead of the final scheduled trilogue on the Unfair Trading Practices Directive tomorrow, retailers and wholesalers warned negotiators not to forget fundamental principles laid down by EU law, or the implications of ignoring them EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:
“We all know that over 20 Member States already have specific legislation on the supply chain. In line with subsidiarity, it makes no sense to add a plethora of rules at EU level which will be appropriate for some Member States and not for others. That is what subsidiarity is meant for. We therefore ask negotiators to stand back and ask what arbitrary turnover thresholds for the scope of the directive or a long list of practices prohibited at EU level will achieve, when Member States are already able to go further themselves. Political gesturing, just to be seen to do something, is bad law, especially when there has been no time to assess the impact of what is being proposed. That is why we believe that everyone would be best served by keeping to the Commission proposal.”
Retailers today voiced their disappointment at the general approach adopted by the Council on the proposal on contracts for the sale of goods and consumer guarantees. Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said:
“The Council has missed an important opportunity in discarding the fully harmonised approach proposed by the Commission, and opting for minimum harmonisation. Instead of modernising consumer protection, the Council approach maintains major national differences. This will do nothing to reduce existing barriers to cross-border ecommerce, holding back the development of a properly-functioning digital market in Europe and denying consumers and businesses its massive potential benefits.”
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Speaking today after the vote of the European Parliament JURI Committee report on collective redress, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren warned of the risk that the proposal as amended will spark a wave of vexatious litigation: “We fully support fair and balanced civil justice systems with effective enforcement of consumers’ rights. We have, however, concerns whether this proposal can deliver on these goals. The proposal should not provide incentives to competitors, third-party investors and law firms to litigate against companies at the expense of consumers.”
New commitments on foreign cards only a small step, but fails to create an online/offline level playing fieldRead more
Retailers and wholesalers today welcomed the announcement that Visa and Mastercard have made commitments to bring transactions on cards issued outside the EU (non-EU visitors purchasing within the EU) broadly in line with those EU-issued cards.
EuroCommerce Narrative on Retail and Wholesale in a changing world…
The world is changing rapidly. Retailers and wholesalers have repeatedly shown how resilient and adaptive they are, and are moving ahead with embracing this change, providing value to customers, suppliers, and society at large. This great story is worth telling – both to the sector and to the wider world. And the story needs to say clearly what we want from the EU and from national governments to make our sector sustainably competitive.
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As the Council, Parliament and Commission enter the final stages of negotiation in trilogue on the Unfair Trading Practices Directive, retailers and wholesalers warned legislators against adopting rushed and ill-conceived compromises. The ideas being floated have undergone no impact assessment, and will act against the interests of farmers, SMEs and consumers. Speaking ahead of further consideration of the proposal in the EP Agriculture Committee and in trilogue next week, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:
“We are the sector who will be very directly affected by a measure which gives wide-ranging rights to suppliers, and none to buyers. The only way to avoid the unforeseen consequences of these ideas creating massive damage to the supply chain is either to stick closely to the Commission proposal, particularly on scope, or submit these new ideas to a proper assessment of their impact. All EU institutions have signed up to this principle under the Inter-Institutional Agreement on better regulation.”
Retailers and wholesalers are very concerned that, in the rush to reach compromises on the over 140 amendments put forward by the Parliament, the EU does not end up with a directive which puts farmers and SME suppliers at a massive disadvantage to large manufacturers, endangers small shops and kills off competition, costing European families billions on their food bills.
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This year marks the 25th anniversary of the European Single Market, but also the 25th anniversary of EuroCommerce, the principal European association representing retail and wholesale, the largest private sector employer in Europe, accounting for 10% of its GDP.
The EuroCommerce event today is not just looking to celebrate retailers, wholesalers, but also the 500 million customers they serve every day, helping them to live a better, healthier and more convenient life.
EU Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska and Vĕra Jourová joined the conference to speak about digital transformation, changing consumer behaviour and how to make the Single Market work better for businesses and consumers.
Régis Degelcke, President of EuroCommerce, said on this occasion:
“In 1992 we were told that the Single Market would be completed. 25 years later we still see significant barriers to trading across the EU. Some €1,000 trillion of goods are traded cross-border in Europe yearly: if we could remove these unjustified barriers we could release an untapped potential of between €183 billion and €269 billion. We see Europe still slow to recover slowly from the economic crisis 10 years ago, and still suffering from too high unemployment. Getting the Single Market working as it should, would create a massive boost to European growth and, most importantly, jobs.”
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Speaking today after publication of the Commission communication on the Single Market in a changing world and yesterday’s Annual Growth Survey, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:
“While the Commission survey paints a positive picture of the EU economies, it does not reflect the sad fact that retail and wholesale are suffering more and more from protectionist and populist measures and local rules, as its earlier report on Retail Fit for the 21st Century highlighted. We regret that the EU institutions have not been able to do more over the past five years to improve conditions for retail and cross-border services, and ensure that the Services Directive – which was adopted in 2006, finally delivers the benefits for the EU economy that it should.”
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Speaking today on the occasion of the International Product Safety Week, Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce said:
“Our members are deeply worried at the influx of dangerous products sold by unscrupulous non-EU manufacturers and sellers, directly targeting EU customers. These products are not subject to any controls and can cause serious harm to consumers. They also represent unfair competition to responsible EU producers, importers and retailers who work hard to ensure that their products are safe and meet EU standards. Any new regulation has to reflect this new reality and help national authorities in responding appropriately to these threats. Rogue traders who deliberately bring non-compliant products into the EU should be stopped and punished.”