Publication details

The disputable scope of EU competence to regulate consumer law



Year of publication 2017
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Description The author focuses on the scope of the competence of the EU to regulate matters related to consumer protection and specifically on the way in which this competence is exercised. The traditional approach of the EU to the regulation of consumer law is discussed. The author reminds that the current legal basis of European consumer protection law is vitally connected with the internal market and with the trade between Member States and that there is no legal basis for EU legislation on consumer protection in general where there is no link to proper functioning of internal market. The EU policy, which is often too unreservedly supported by national governments, tends to ignore this fact and focuses more the policy itself. The author expresses the opinion that such approach is not correct for both legal and practical reasons. The disputable existence of EU competence is the main legal argument against a general EU regulation of consumer law. The majority of all transactions have a purely internal character with no link to the internal market whatsoever. Harmonization of rules establishes one common standard of a consumer applicable to all EU consumers, creating a “Chimera” of a “European consumer”, which in practice does not exist. Harmonization cannot sufficiently reflect the different needs and preferences in European countries. Questionable is also the whole idea of consumer protection at its current high level as it may represent an obstacle to free competition on internal market and generate a burden that might be unbearable for small and midsized business, which is often too easily overlooked.

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