Chapter 3: The Law and Practice of Harmonization
It was explained in Chapter 1 that the bulk of the material which is treated in this book as ‘EC consumer policy’ has its source in the EC’s programme of legislative harmonization. The purpose of Chapter 1 was to place that important strand in the evolution of EC consumer policy in its proper wider context. The entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 was the landmark date for the explicit formal recognition of consumer protection as an EC competence, however, not only before but also after that date the EC’s legislative track record relevant to the consumer has been predominantly composed of the harmonization of national laws of consumer protection. The purpose of this chapter is to focus more closely on some of the ambiguities and controversies that attend the crafting of a programme of consumer protection in the name of market-making harmonization. These concern issues relevant to the quality of the legislative acquis as well as the deeper constitutional questions about whether what has been done is legally valid. THE EC TREATY AND LEGISLATIVE HARMONIZATION The original Treaty of Rome included a provision which provided ‘for the approximation of such provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in member states as directly affect the establishment or functioning of the common market’. This was Article 100 EEC, and it is today Article 94 EC (in consequence on the Amsterdam Treaty’s renumbering of the EC Treaty effective from 1999). This legislative power is subject to a requirement...
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