European Commission - Press release
Consumers: Commission calls on Slovakia to ensure full protection of consumers' interests
Brussels, 27 February 2012 - The European Commission has asked Slovakia to ensure the correct transposition of Directive 2009/22/EC concerning certain actions for the protection of consumers' interests. Although Slovakia has proposed to amend its national legislation transposing the Directive, it has not provided a reasonable timeframe for doing so, thus failing to adequately protect some consumer rights. Directive 2009/22/EC enables a consumer association or a public consumer protection organisation in one Member State to introduce a action against a commercial operator established in another Member State. The so called "injunction", is an order granted by a court or an administrative body obliging a commercial operator to immediately cease activities which go against certain consumer interests, for example unfair marketing techniques, misleading advertising or pressure selling, until a final judgement on their legality is handed down.
In Slovakia consumers associations or organisations are not allowed to ask for such an order in a case of a potential violation of consumers' collective interests in two particular areas, on services in the internal market and on the certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale and exchange contracts.
The Commission thus considers that Slovakia has failed to transpose Directive 2009/22/EC in an adequate manner.
Therefore, the Commission launched an infringement procedure against Slovakia on 30 September 2011. In reply, Slovakia has conceded that its national law does not comply with the Directive and informed the Commission of its intentions to amend it.
However, so far, Slovakia has failed to adequately implement the Directive.
As a result, today the Commission has adopted the decision to send Slovakia a Reasoned Opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer this Member State to the EU's Court of Justice.
In the event of an intra-Union offence which adversely affects the collective interests of consumers in a Member State, any qualified entity (a consumer association or a public organisation in charge of consumer protection) in that Member State may institute an action for an injunction in the Member State where the offence originated. The aim of this procedure is to obtain an order stopping commercial operators from undertaking activities that are prejudicial to the collective interests of consumers in another Member State.
Actions for injunctions introduced by this Directive do not allow adversely affected consumers to obtain compensation for the damage suffered.
Member States designate the Court or the administrative authority competent to rule on actions for injunctions.
Applicable law is determined according to the rules of private international law currently in force.
Member States notify the Commission of the entities qualified to bring actions for an injunction in another Member State. The Commission updates the list of entities qualified to bring action in another Member State every six months, and then publishes it in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Before bringing an action for an injunction, Member States may envisage a prior consultation procedure between the infringer and the plaintiff/qualified entity with a view to encouraging a negotiated solution. If the infringement is not terminated within two weeks following receipt of the request for consultation, an action for an injunction may be brought.
Member States may extend the scope of actions for injunctions. They may also extend the possibility of bringing action for injunctions to any other person concerned.
Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)
Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)