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Romania

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REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2003 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 702 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 510 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 710 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [SEC(2001) 1753 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1211 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1200 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2005) 534 final - SEC(2005) 1354 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]

SUMMARY

In its July 1997 Opinion the European Commission stated that Romania had made considerable progress in aligning its consumer protection legislation with the Community acquis. Although certain amendments and new laws were required, the Commission noted that Romania came close to satisfying European Union consumer protection standards, while recognising that problems might arise at the time of effective enforcement of the Community acquis.
The November 1998 Report ascertained that there had been little progress in this area, notably as regards the transposition of the Community acquis. It also pointed out that Romania would have to reinforce the institutional structures responsible for enforcing the law.
In its October 1999 Report the Commission noted that only modest progress had been made, largely due to the transposal of two directives, and stressed that major efforts were still required.
The October 2002 Report notes that in the last three years Romania has succeeded in making significant progress in transposing the acquis, and work on its translation is continuing steadily. Further efforts are needed in order to ensure effective implementation and proper collaboration between the various bodies concerned with consumer protection.
In the October 2003 Report, the Commission noted that negotiations on this chapter had been provisionally closed and that Romania had not requested any transitional arrangements in this area.
The report pointed out that Romania would have to continue to transpose the acquis concerning market surveillance and certain non-safety-related fields, especially guarantees and consumer credit.
The October 2004 Report indicates that Romania has made good progress in transposing the acquis concerning non-safety-related measures. However, it still has to incorporate the acquis relating to market surveillance, which has been improved thanks to the coordination of monitoring measures between the competent authorities.
The October 2005 Report indicates that all that remains is to improve market surveillance by strengthening its administrative capacity. Romania is also encouraged to continue to support consumer protection associations.


The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The Community acquis covers the protection of consumers' economic interests, general product safety, the cosmetics sector, the labelling of textile products and toys.
Consumers' economic interests concern mainly the monitoring of misleading and comparative advertising, unfair terms, indication of prices, consumer credit, unfair trading practices, distance selling, package travel, timeshare, injunctions and certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees.
General product safety covers aspects such as liability for defective products, the banning of dangerous imitations of foods and the distance marketing of financial services.
Moreover, in order to apply this acquis correctly, efficient market surveillance and active participation in the development of consumer policy by independent and representative consumer associations are required.
Consumers must also be aware of their rights and of how to settle consumer disputes with both judicial procedures and out-of-court or amicable settlements. If there are no such procedures, it is necessary to set them up as part of the Community acquis. It is also necessary to promote activities to inform and educate consumers.

EVALUATION

Non-safety-related measures

Romania has made good progress in transposing the acquis concerning non-safety-related measures by adopting laws on sales and guarantees on consumer goods, the purchase of timeshare property and consumer credit, and by establishing the consumer code.

Much work remains to be done with regard to consumer associations. The activity of such organisations is not well understood by consumers, who prefer to claim their rights individually. These associations are still not very active, largely through a lack of financial resources and suitable training. They should play a greater role in devising and implementing consumer policy, particularly for establishing safety standards for consumer products.

Public services should involve these associations in and consult them about all initiatives that affect them. These associations should be encouraged, according to the 2005 Report, to be representative and to help consumers effectively by playing a key role in the market.

The representation of these associations has been improved in 2004 since the Consumer Association was incorporated into the Interministerial Committee for Market, Products and Services Surveillance and Consumer Protection.

The National Authority for Consumer Protection has, in the past, launched awareness campaigns in this field aimed at the general public, such as information campaigns in schools. In addition, it should also define the specific criteria that must be met by consumer associations, as there are still too many of them.

The 1992 Consumer Protection Act laid down the main rules and created the Consumer Protection Office (CPO). This is a state agency, with 14 regional branches, that is responsible for coordinating and implementing policies in this area. It also organises the consumers' consultative councils made up of representatives of the state and consumer and business associations, at national, provincial and local levels. In 2002, two new independent advisory bodies were set up: the Unfair Terms Commission and the Product Safety Commission.

Safety-related measures

Legislation on safety-related measures is in line with the acquis. The revised Directive on general product safety and the Directive on liability for defective products were transposed in 2003. The National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC), with its 42 territorial offices, is in charge of this task, as it is responsible for coordinating consumer protection policies and market surveillance. It has increased its budget, stepped up its activities and taken on more staff, and has organised a series of training courses for its staff.

According to the 2005 Report, the staff of this national authority seem to be sufficient, but it is necessary to reinforce its technical facilities.

The ANPC has successfully carried out joint controls with other market surveillance bodies, such as the Interministerial Committee for Product Surveillance. The number of such checks had increased in 2004 compared to previous years. Romania should also ensure that these market surveillance activities are geared more towards the safety of non-food products.

Romania has joined the RAPEX system for the rapid exchange of information on dangerous products through the ANPC, which serves as a contact point and which identified 14 dangerous non-food products on the market in 2003.

The general market surveillance body - the Interministerial Committee for Market, Products and Services Surveillance and Consumer Protection - has been expanded. It also includes the other competent government bodies, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Communication. It has also absorbed the Consumer Association and the Association of Exporters and Importers.

The 2005 Report insists on the need for improved coordination between the various bodies that are competent in the field of consumer policy and on clarification of how responsibilities are shared, in order to improve how they work. The bodies particularly concerned are the Interministerial Committee for Market Surveillance, the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) and the Product Safety Commission, not forgetting the Advisory Councils that coordinate market surveillance at local level.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

Last updated: 16.01.2007
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