Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner
Chapter 1: A step too far? Constitutional objections to harmonisation of EU consumer and contract law
The financial crisis and increasing unemployment have all necessitated that the EU adopts innovative policies to stimulate economic growth. Within the EU it remains the internal market which is at the core of EU trade policy and the Commission has been looking at ways in which to increase the volume of trade between Member States, especially by encouraging new opportunities for individual consumers. As part of the Europe 2020 Programme the Commission has been promoting its 'Digital Agenda' through which the Commission, amongst other initiatives, seeks to improve online sales and e-commerce of cross-border goods and services by consumers. In addition to the necessary technological developments, the Commission concludes that this can only be realised through the adoption of a uniform legal framework and effective consumer protection measures which will instil in consumers the confidence and protection that is necessary to guard against fraud and protect consumer rights. The Commission Communication Towards a Single Market Act and the Digital Agenda both highlight that significant fragmentation of online markets in Europe prevents growth and prevents consumers from obtaining the full benefit of the single market. Therefore, as part of the Agenda 2020 strategy through which the EU seeks to meet the goals of higher growth, employment and social cohesion, increasing the volume of online trade may, superficially, be considered as a logical component of the strategy.