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Brussels, 10 December 2010

Statement by Vice-President Viviane Reding on the Competitiveness Council’s general approach on the Consumer Rights Directive:

“The general approach on the Consumer Rights Directive endorsed by Ministers at the Competitiveness Council is a very important step forward. I would like to congratulate the Belgian Presidency, and notably Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne for his skilful negotiations,” EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said after the meeting with Ministers. “This will allow the European Parliament to take this important file forward in early 2011. My objective is to strengthen both the Single Market’s functioning and the rights that consumers enjoy in Europe. I also want to ensure that businesses can benefit from a level playing field. I am confident that we can achieve this in the course of next year.”

The proposed Consumer Rights Directive is the main current legislative initiative in consumer policy. It was first presented by the European Commission in October 2008 (see IP/08/1474). Vice-President Viviane Reding showed from the very beginning of her mandate that she was not taking an ideological approach to the Directive. Instead, she wanted to see a pragmatic approach that focused on concrete results. She outlined this approach in a speech last March in Madrid (see SPEECH/10/91).

During today’s Competitiveness Council, the Belgian Presidency reached a general approach on the Directive. The Council will formalise this approach on 20 December at the Environment Council. The next step is a debate in Parliament. A vote in Plenary is expected in March.

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