Latest developments in EU legislation 19th IFTTA Congress Portugal 11-14 October, 2007 Dr Gyenizse Dorottya Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Tourism Department
Topics • Review of the Consumer Acqius (latest Green Paper by the Commission) • Review of the Timeshare Directive (94/47/EC) • Review of the Package Travel Directive (90/314/EC) • Other issues
Review of the EU Consumer Acquis • Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis (presented by the European Commission) 2007, February • The Commission launched the Review of the Consumer Acquis in 2004 - the review covers eight directives aiming at protecting consumers • The Green Paper concludes the diagnostic phase of the review, sums up the Commission’s initial findings and calls on views on some options to review the consumer acquis. • Commision’s activities: comparative analysis on how the Directives are applied in the Member States, including case-law and administrative practice, standing working group of experts from the Member States, stakeholder workshops, analysis of consumer and business attitudes, implementation reports
Review of the EU Consumer Acquis • Most directives that are part of the Consumer Acquis are prescriptive rather than principle-based. Most of them no longer meet fully the requirements of today’s rapidly evolving markets. • Existing EU consumer protection rules are fragmented: current directives allow Member States to adopt more stringent rules in their national laws, many issues are regulated inconsistently between directives • Business and consumer stakeholders have pointed out a number of examples of regulatory fragmentation which create problems. • Different rules resulting from minimum harmonisation may have a negative impact on the internal market.
Review of the EU Consumer Acquis – Possible options for future • The vertical approach: existing directives could be amended separately in order to adapt them to market and technological development • The mixed approach: vertical actions and horizontal instruments; more integrated, “horizontal” approach has begun with Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (“UCP”) in 2005; common issues could be extracted from the existing directives and regulated in a systematic fashion in a horizontal instrument • The “no legislative action”: existing regulatory fragmentation would remain or could increase through Member States’ use of minimum harmonisation clauses
Review of the EU Consumer Acquis Consultation is continuing especially on the following issues, meanwhile the Commission has begun to amend specific directives • General legislative approach • Scope of a Horizontal Instrument • Definition of “consumer” and “professional” • Introduction of a general clause of good faith and fair dealing • Harmonisation of the length of the cooling off periods, right of withdrawal • Introduction of the general contractual remedies • Introduction of the right to damages • Extension of the scope of application to other types of contracts • Direct producers’ liability for non-conformity
Review of the Timeshare Directive • Revision has begun in 2006 with Consultation Paper • 2007 June: the Commission presented the Proposal for a Directive on the protection of consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday products, resale and exchange • The proposal is a result of a review of Directive 94/47/EC in force • Factors: major developments in the market place, new products, large number of consumer complaints • The consultation confirmed that there are serious consumer problems related to longterm holiday products and resale mediation and to a lesser extent related to timeshare and exchange. • Member States, consumers and other stakeholders support a revision
Review of the Timeshare Directive Detailed amendment of the proposal • New scope: covering timeshare, long-term holiday products, as well as exchange and resale mediation • Horizontal issues will be addressed in the overall review of the Acquis • Contracts for accommodation in canal boats, caravans or cruise-ships will also be covered • The definition covers contracts for a period of more than one year, which includes "trial packs" for accommodation of 35 months duration • Withdrawal period is extended to 14 days and harmonised across the EU • Ban on deposits during the withdrawal period • New rules on precontractual information and advertising
Review of the Package Travel Directive • Revision has begun in 2006 with Commission Questionnaire • 2007 July: The Commission presented Working Document on the Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours • Main factors taken into consideration: the travel sector has evolved considerably in recent years. The development of the internet, the entry of low cost air carriers, the growth within the cruise industry and the increasing trend of consumers putting together their own holiday components from different organisers, instead of opting for packages pre-arranged by an organiser or a retailer. • Commission Working Document: to set out the main regulatory problems in the area of package travel and to consult stakeholders on issues related to the Directive.
Review of the Package Travel Directive – latest developments Commission Working Document detailed proposals • The Commission wishes to collect the Member States' and stakeholders’ views on the application of the Directive, all interested parties who wish to respond to the questions of the report should submit replies to the European Commission by 1 October 2007 • Scope of the Directive and main definitions (package, inclusive price, organiser, retailer, consumer, other tourist services, concerning "dynamic packages", the scope of the Directive may be clarified to determine whether these products should be covered or not) • Pre-contractual information (information requirements, part of the contract, web information, brochures)
Review of the Package Travel Directive – latest developments Commission Working Document detailed proposals • Provisions for compensation in cases of cancellation and withdrawal of the contract (calculation of the compensation, insufficient number of participants) • Liability (In most cases the organiser is liable, including in cases of performance by someone else. However, the liability of the retailer is often more limited.) • Limitation for non-physical damage under the contract should be deleted, or at least, whether a common threshold should be introduced • Most Member States have not expressly stipulated for the compensation for non-material damage in the context of their package travel law. • Security insolvency (introduction of a uniform system across the EU)