At the beginning of the recent electoral period of the EU, the European Commission under its President Ursula von der Leyen announced a series of initiatives in terms of digitalisation. By the end of the year 2020, the Commission will present a proposal to revise the legal rules regarding economic activities on online platforms. For the ongoing consultation, the AK provides a tool to facilitate the participation of platform workers.
Representing the interest of consumers, the Chamber of Labour has for years been demanding the introduction of Europe-wide collective redress. On 22 June 2020, the European institutions agreed on a Directive. A milestone towards the efficient enforcement of consumer rights throughout Europe.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, a huge amount of fake news has been spread across the internet. Now, the Commission has recommended measures to improve the fight against future disinformation. However, comprehensive protection of internet users also requires the consequent protection of their data.
On 20 May 2020, the European Commission set another important step to implement the Green Deal: with the now presented Farm to Fork Strategy, food production in Europe is to become more sustainable and ensure more transparency for consumers.
The calls for reopening Europe’s internal borders and for a revival of the tourism sector are getting increasingly louder. On 13 May 2020, the Commission presented a package comprising five recommendations, which contain provisions for free movement and tourism – including the protection of consumers – during the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis once more shows the necessity and urgency of a Digital Services Act. The issue is now also dealt with by the European Parliament apart from being the reason for Commissioner for Digital, Margrethe Vestager, to be invited to an exchange of views.
With a view to an exit strategy, the EU and its Member States are pinning great hopes on mobile apps for the purpose of contact tracing. In order to gain the trust of citizens and to prevent any data from being misused, the EU Commission is relying on a joint and coordinated approach.
The COVID-19 crisis hits the travel and tourism industry particularly hard. To ensure that consumers do not bear the brunt, the Commission specifies current rules and makes the case for a balanced solution between financial aid for businesses and protecting consumers in the European Parliament.
The GDPR has brought some improvements for consumers and workers (e.g. stricter requirements for consent, involvement of responsible parties from third countries, and dissuasive sanctions). Overall, however, the legal position of consumers and workers has not improved significantly and many of the concerns of consumers and workers respectively described in this position paper have still not been met in practice. We see the reasons for this in enforcement deficits, but above all in the inadequacies of the GDPR itself.
For all people in Europe, the current crisis has a tremendous impact on all areas of live. Not least for passengers. Whilst airlines and tour operators are lobbying for watering down current EU law, the Chamber of Labour and consumer protectors are fighting for those who are affected.