Four legislative proposals to be subject of debate
By Sophie Petitjean | Thursday 30 June 2011
Since draft legislation on consumer rights and nutrition labelling were recently the subject of a three-way agreement, European consumer policy will undergo a total transformation in the next six months. As a result, Warsaw will be limited to opening the debate on future Commission initiatives. On the to-be-expected list for the end of this year are proposals on health claims, novel foods, European contract law and possibly alternative dispute resolution.
Health claims: The Commission is to publish a Community list – in the form of a single regulation – setting out the nutrition claims permitted, other than those relating to botanical species. This will be based on a series of opinions published by the European Food Safety Authority and will regulate the terms used on labels, for publicity purposes, or on marketing products highlighting the role of a nutrient on health.
Novel foods: Following the failure of negotiations on the draft regulation on novel foods, the European Commission is expected to present an amended proposal excluding the difficult issue of cloning. The new text is likely to be limited to aspects that have already been agreed in order to fix the provisions applying to foodstuffs that were not consumed significantly before May 1997.
European contract law:Commissioner Viviane Reding will present a legislative proposal, in October, creating a European legal instrument to regulate at EU level contracts between businesses or between businesses and consumers. The idea is to offer stakeholders a voluntary option to national or international law.
Out-of-court dispute resolution (and collective redress): The European Commission intends to propose a directive, in November, that will encompass out-of-court resolutions of consumer disputes. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) enables a consumer to obtain compensation for damage suffered as a result of an unlawful act by a commercial entity without going to court. As for a European collective redress system, which would allow claimants to group together to pursue a particular claim, the Commission is currently analysing responses to a public consultation before submitting, if appropriate, a legislative proposal.
The European Commission intends to propose a directive, in November, that will encompass out-of-court resolutions of consumer disputes