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Consumers and repair of products

17-09-2019

Repairing broken or damaged products can save consumers money by helping them postpone making replacement purchases, while also bringing benefits to the environment through lower waste production and use of resources. The EU's circular economy strategy considers maintenance and repair to be important ways of both keeping resources from being thrown away and of prolonging the lifespan of products. A 2018 European Commission behavioural study on consumer engagement in the circular economy showed that ...

Repairing broken or damaged products can save consumers money by helping them postpone making replacement purchases, while also bringing benefits to the environment through lower waste production and use of resources. The EU's circular economy strategy considers maintenance and repair to be important ways of both keeping resources from being thrown away and of prolonging the lifespan of products. A 2018 European Commission behavioural study on consumer engagement in the circular economy showed that 64 % of consumers always repair broken or damaged products. The top reason for not repairing products was the high price of repair, followed by the preference to get a new product and the feeling that the old product was obsolete or out of fashion. As for repairers, especially independent ones, they often complain about having no access to original spare parts, technical information, diagnostic software and training, as manufacturers sometimes limit these to their own after-sales services or to recognised repairers of a specific brand. EU consumer legislation regulates the right of consumers to have products repaired within the legal guarantee period, but not beyond its expiry or for defects not covered by the guarantee. Efforts to ensure access to repair are also included in EU environmental and product legislation. The upcoming ecodesign requirements for TV screens, refrigerators, lighting, household washing machines and dishwashers are expected to ensure that independent repairers have access to spare parts and repair information. The European Parliament has called for extending the ecodesign requirements to non-energy related products, including the reparability of products, more systematically in ecodesign legislation, and extending the duration of legal guarantees. Similar calls have come from a range of stakeholders.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protecting European consumers

28-06-2019

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of ...

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including stronger cross-border cooperation between national authorities in charge of consumer protection and market surveillance. Notably, the Commission proposed a 'new deal for consumers' in April 2018, to enable representative legal actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and to modernise EU consumer protection rules. Sector-specific efforts included: eliminating roaming charges across the EU in 2017; legislation aimed at facilitating consumer participation in the digital single market; reforms on the rules on privacy and data protection; enhancing the rights of energy consumers and passengers; and efforts to address the 'dual quality' of branded food products. The EU budget for consumer protection is relatively small, because although rules in this field are made at the EU level, their implementation and enforcement are carried out by the Member States. The consumer programme has a budget of €188 million for the 2013-2020 period, or roughly €0.05 per citizen per year. This may change in the new multiannual financial framework, as consumer protection becomes part of a wider single market programme, which is expected to create synergies between its various components. Future policies could focus on longer product lifetime, labelling and quality requirements for non-agricultural and industrial products, fairer food labelling and retail financial services. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Representative actions to protect the collective interests of consumers: A new deal for consumers

25-04-2019

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers. Currently, consumer organisations or independent public bodies can bring actions in the name of consumers in courts or before administrative authorities to stop infringements of consumer legislation. According to the proposal, they would be able to demand compensation for consumers as well. While work on the proposal is ongoing in ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers. Currently, consumer organisations or independent public bodies can bring actions in the name of consumers in courts or before administrative authorities to stop infringements of consumer legislation. According to the proposal, they would be able to demand compensation for consumers as well. While work on the proposal is ongoing in the Council, the European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on 26 March 2019. It added safeguards to protect companies against abusive litigation, and deleted a precondition that consumers should wait for a final injunction order establishing the existence of an infringement before being allowed to demand compensation.

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers

15-04-2019

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal, which would amend four consumer protection directives, focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of 'free' digital services, the right of withdrawal and dual quality of products. On 21 March 2019, Parliament and the Council reached provisional agreement on the proposal. The agreement rejects the proposed changes that would weaken the right of withdrawal. It bans several unfair commercial practices in all circumstances, and allows dual quality of products to be declared as misleading on a case-by-case basis. Parliament is expected to vote on the provisional agreement during the April II plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

General safety of vehicles and protection of vulnerable road users

11-04-2019

As part of the third 'Europe on the move' package of measures, on 27 May 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users. The regulation is part of the EU's efforts to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries in road crashes between 2020 and 2030. It would introduce a number of advanced vehicle safety features ...

As part of the third 'Europe on the move' package of measures, on 27 May 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users. The regulation is part of the EU's efforts to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries in road crashes between 2020 and 2030. It would introduce a number of advanced vehicle safety features that passenger cars, vans, buses and trucks would have to have as standard equipment in order to be sold on the internal market. It would replace three current type-approval regulations: the General Vehicle Safety Regulation, the Pedestrian Protection Regulation and the Hydrogen-Powered Motor Vehicles Regulation. In March 2019, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal, that clarifies exact requirements for different safety features and brings forward the deadlines for their mandatory instalment in vehicles. Parliament is expected to vote on it during the April II plenary session.

Strengthening market surveillance of harmonised industrial products

28-03-2019

Harmonised products represent 69 % of the overall value of industrial products in the internal market. However, a significant part of these products does not comply with harmonised EU rules. This has negative effects on the health and safety of consumers, and on fair competition between businesses. To remedy the situation, the Commission proposed, on 19 December 2017, to strengthen market surveillance rules for non-food products harmonised by EU legislation. The proposal for a compliance and enforcement ...

Harmonised products represent 69 % of the overall value of industrial products in the internal market. However, a significant part of these products does not comply with harmonised EU rules. This has negative effects on the health and safety of consumers, and on fair competition between businesses. To remedy the situation, the Commission proposed, on 19 December 2017, to strengthen market surveillance rules for non-food products harmonised by EU legislation. The proposal for a compliance and enforcement regulation would increase EU-level coordination of market surveillance, clarify the procedures for the mutual assistance mechanism, and require non-EU manufacturers to designate a natural or legal person responsible for compliance information. On 7 February 2019, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the proposal. Parliament is due to vote on that agreement during the April II plenary session. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services

21-03-2019

On 29 January 2019, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission's proposal for a directive regulating the private-law aspects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services in the internal market. The directive would, for the first time, harmonise some aspects of such contracts at EU level. The co-legislators agreed that embedded digital content would not be regulated by this directive, but rather by that on sale of goods ...

On 29 January 2019, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the European Commission's proposal for a directive regulating the private-law aspects of contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services in the internal market. The directive would, for the first time, harmonise some aspects of such contracts at EU level. The co-legislators agreed that embedded digital content would not be regulated by this directive, but rather by that on sale of goods. They also agreed that the duration of legal guarantees for digital content and services would not be fully harmonised but that national laws should not limit it to less than two years; that for the first year from delivery the burden of proof should be on the supplier; and that traders would be required to provide updates. The directive would also establish what remedies consumers are entitled to and the order in which they can be used. Parliament is expected to vote on the provisional agreement during the March II plenary session. Fifth edition of a briefing originally drafted by Rafał Mańko. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view previous editions of this briefing, please see: PE 614.707 (February 2018).

Representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers

20-03-2019

As part of efforts to improve compliance with consumer protection rules, the European Commission has proposed a directive on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. The proposal, presented as part of the 'New Deal for Consumers', aims to enable consumers across the EU to use representative actions to demand compensation from companies that infringe their rights. The European Parliament is expected to vote on its first-reading position during the March II plenary ...

As part of efforts to improve compliance with consumer protection rules, the European Commission has proposed a directive on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. The proposal, presented as part of the 'New Deal for Consumers', aims to enable consumers across the EU to use representative actions to demand compensation from companies that infringe their rights. The European Parliament is expected to vote on its first-reading position during the March II plenary session.

Consumer sale of goods

19-03-2019

On 29 January 2019, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Commission proposal for a new directive on the consumer sale of goods. The Commission's original proposal, from 2015, which was intended to lay down rules on online and other distance sales of goods only, was replaced on 31 October 2017 by an amended version. This sought to replace entirely the existing Consumer Sales Directive dating from 1999, and regulate contracts concluded both online and offline ...

On 29 January 2019, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Commission proposal for a new directive on the consumer sale of goods. The Commission's original proposal, from 2015, which was intended to lay down rules on online and other distance sales of goods only, was replaced on 31 October 2017 by an amended version. This sought to replace entirely the existing Consumer Sales Directive dating from 1999, and regulate contracts concluded both online and offline. The provisional agreement on the proposal reached between the Parliament and Council would allow Member States to decide on a legal guarantee of longer than two years and extend the period during which it is presumed that the goods were faulty from the start. Parliament is due to vote on the agreement during the March II 2019 plenary. Fourth edition, based on a briefing originally drafted by Rafał Mańko. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. To view previous versions of this briefing, please see: PE 614.744 (March 2018).

Environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry: What consumers need to know

17-01-2019

The amount of clothes bought in the EU per person has increased by 40 % in just a few decades, driven by a fall in prices and the increased speed with which fashion is delivered to consumers. Clothing accounts for between 2 % and 10 % of the environmental impact of EU consumption. This impact is often felt in third countries, as most production takes place abroad. The production of raw materials, spinning them into fibres, weaving fabrics and dyeing require enormous amounts of water and chemicals ...

The amount of clothes bought in the EU per person has increased by 40 % in just a few decades, driven by a fall in prices and the increased speed with which fashion is delivered to consumers. Clothing accounts for between 2 % and 10 % of the environmental impact of EU consumption. This impact is often felt in third countries, as most production takes place abroad. The production of raw materials, spinning them into fibres, weaving fabrics and dyeing require enormous amounts of water and chemicals, including pesticides for growing raw materials such as cotton. Consumer use also has a large environmental footprint due to the water, energy and chemicals used in washing, tumble drying and ironing, as well as to microplastics shed into the environment. Less than half of used clothes are collected for reuse or recycling when they are no longer needed, and only 1 % are recycled into new clothes, since technologies that would enable recycling clothes into virgin fibres are only starting to emerge. Various ways to address these issues have been proposed, including developing new business models for clothing rental, designing products in a way that would make re-use and recycling easier (circular fashion), convincing consumers to buy fewer clothes of better quality (slow fashion), and generally steering consumer behaviour towards choosing more sustainable options. In 2018, the EU adopted a circular economy package that will, at the insistence of the European Parliament, for the first time ensure that textiles are collected separately in all Member States, by 2025 at the latest. The European Parliament has for years advocated promoting the use of ecological and sustainable raw materials and the re-use and recycling of clothing.

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20-11-2019
Europe's Future: Where next for EU institutional Reform?
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