The EEA EFTA States are studying developments closely on the EU side in the area of consumer protection. A draft report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on consumer rights was recently issued by Rapporteur Dr Schwab for the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. In order to present their views and possibly influence upcoming legislation on consumer rights, the EEA EFTA States took this opportunity to submit an EEA EFTA Comment on this draft report to the European Parliament.
With this comment, the EEA EFTA States aim to draw the Parliament’s attention to four main positions. First, the EEA EFTA States favour a minimum harmonisation approach and believe that the question of harmonisation should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Second, the EEA EFTA States welcome the Rapporteur’s proposal to give the Member States more leeway to go further in consumer protection than was foreseen in the Commission’s proposal. The EEA EFTA States have, however, raised their concerns that the possibility to derogate from the Directive is still very limited. Third, the EEA EFTA States see a minimum harmonisation approach as paramount in relation to unfair terms in consumer contracts. Lastly, the EEA EFTA States highlight that, in order to provide legal certainty, clarification is required regarding the relationship between the proposal and the general contract law of the Member States. The EEA EFTA States are of the opinion that it should therefore be clearly stated that the proposal shall not affect national law in the area of general contract law, insofar as this is not harmonised in the proposed directive. Such a clear regulation would provide the Member States with the flexibility to maintain or introduce legislation where necessary to ensure that the consumer can achieve the rights set out in the proposal.
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