ROME -- The European Commision has launched a report on consumer protection cooperation across Member States to ensure EU Regulations are enforced.
Under the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004, Member States' enforcement authorities work together to raise the level and standard of consumer protection in the single market for consumers shopping cross-border. This work involves working closely together to stop breaches of consumer laws through joint enforcement exercises. It also involves developing expertise and sharing experience.
How this work in the interest of consumers is taken forward, is the subject of a report just adopted by the European Commission. This biennial report on the application of the CPC Regulation covers 2009 and 2010. It focuses in particular on the operations of the CPC Network established in December 2006 and combines the views of Member States and the Commission's own experience monitoring the network.
The report shows that, the CPC Network has consolidated its activities and gained in efficiency. This is reflected in the increasing success of the annual Sweep exercises (simultaneous checks of websites in a given sector by CPC authorities followed by enforcement work to ensure compliance with legal requirements), the decrease in the average case handling time and the increased number of coordinated enforcement cases (i.e. cases that involve several authorities to stop practices from the same trader detected in different countries).
The report also highlights some shortcomings which must be addressed so that the CPC Network can reach its full potential. These relate mainly to the way the authorities applied the cooperation mechanisms and also to more horizontal issues, such the need to continue working towards a shared understanding of EU consumer rules and the lack of visibility of the Network.
The Biennial Report further identifies how the Commission intends to work with the Member States to address the issues identified. The Report is one milestone in the framework of the in-depth assessment the Commission is carrying out on the CPC Regulation cooperation mechanisms upon which the Commission will report by the end of 2014.