Tory drive to block confusing and harmful EU sales law

25-Feb-2014 @ 9:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Tory drive to block confusing and harmful EU sales law

Conservative MEPs will this week be mounting a concerted drive against plans for an entirely new regime of sales contract law to operate across Europe.

The scheme would be confusing, costly and damaging to the single market, Conservatives say. Ashley Fox, member of the Internal Market Committee, is marshalling resistance to the scheme across political groups in the European Parliament.

Tory MEPs will be backing an amendment which rejects the proposals outright – and as a back-up strategy they have also signed an amendment which instead proposes easily-understandable model contracts to improve transparency and consumer rights in international transactions.

In a briefing paper sent to fellow MEPs, Mr Fox stresses that the proposed common sales law is:

• Bad for the single market – causing confusion by offering alternative and competing legal frameworks.

• Bad for consumers – giving the upper hand to businesses to choose which regulatory frameworks should apply.

• Bad for business – adding massively to costs by setting up a completely new alternative legal regime and requiring the close involvement of translators, international lawyers and judges.

Mr Fox, Conservative MEP for the South West, said: "Businesses don't like this plan, consumers don't like it, the parliament's Single Market Committee doesn't like it.

"The only people who seem to see any merit in it are the EU Commission and the Legal Affair Committee. I can't think why because it will make cross-border trading more complicated, not simpler.

"There is simply no real evidence that a new, optional, highly complex legal instrument focused on contract law for cross-border sales can provide benefits to consumers or business. There is nothing to suggest it will achieve the presumed benefits of increasing cross border trade and growth."

"Every relevant stakeholder organisation is against this clumsy, over-complicated scheme – from consumer groups, to big retailers to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Hopefully it is not too late for a majority of MEPs to hear those voices and send this plan back to the Commission labelled 'Thanks but no thanks'."

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