The JURI committee organised an interparliamentary meeting on the Common European Sales Law on 27 November in the European Parliament. The meeting was chaired by Klaus-Heiner Lehne – as both rapporteur and chairman of the committee – and he underlined that the Parliament is trying to conceive preventative law, and not create a ‘playground for litigation lawyers’. His proposal should facilitate both businesses and consumers to take utmost advantage of the internal market.
Ecommerce Europe is against the CESL and its non-mandatory framework because it will not improve the current situation since consumers and web merchants will not know which kind of law to choose. It will not contribute to a higher level in e-commerce purchases; it over-emphasises consumer interests and it will not contribute to the industry of web merchants.
The idea behind the proposal for a Common European Sales Law is to facilitate cross-border trade by opening up new opportunities for business and consumers while guaranteeing a high level of consumer protection. In view of the importance of this proposal, an interparliamentary committee meeting was held, enabling members of national Parliaments to join MEPs in questioning experts and debating different aspects of the proposal.
During the meeting, Vice-President of the European Commission, Vivane Reding, expressed satisfaction with the Sales Law. She is still very happy with the proposal. Reding underlined the importance of the optional aspect of the proposal; the CESL is not meant to bring extra burdens to businesses (especially SMEs) but to give businesses an extra alternative that they can choose to use in cross-border trades, or not. Finding the right balance is important. The progress being made by the Council and the Cypriot Presidency is slow, but significant. The Council recently started talks on the substance of the proposal after 8 months of preliminary talks. Only Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Estonia, Malta and Bulgaria expressed support for the Sales Law. Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany and Finland were unconvinced by the proposal and stated that the instrument does not satisfy the objectives of legal certainty. Talks started at the very core and there are still big disagreements, even on the question of whether the EU needs a CESL at all. The Cypriot presidency is emphasising the lengthy process and would like to think with a long term perspective. The presidency will work on disagreements, and fix imperfections.