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The bankruptcy of the travel agency Thomas Cook on 23rd September 2019 left more than 600,000 travellers stranded at their holiday destinations and put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide. Due to these dimensions, the European Parliament on 24th October 2019 adopted a resolution on the negative effects of Thomas Cook bankruptcy on European tourism and set out measures to improve the protection of travellers with a clear majority.

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What issues and challenges will European consumer protection face in the coming legislative period? This question was addressed by a high-level event of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC), which took place on 6th November 2019 at the Norway House in Brussels.

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In order to be able to use renewable energies to improve the use of renewable energy generation, which is associated with stronger fluctuations, the European Commission intends to channel demand more effectively by means of flexible electricity tariffs. From the Chamber of Labour’s point of view, these tariff models hide the danger of a “two-tier energy society”.

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For years, representatives of the new Member States have been complaining that some of the products available in Eastern Europe contain lower-quality ingredients that those, which are sold under the same name in Western Europe. A comprehensive investigation by the Commission has now confirmed the existence of different recipes in the Member States, but no general discrimination of certain European countries.

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Competition policy is an important part of economic policy. In an economic system based on a market economy, competition policy has to determine the conditions for a competitive framework which ensure that competition between economic players functions and anti-competitive behaviour is stopped and penalised.

 

 

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Helmut Gahleitner

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Ulrike Ginner

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The CCD raised the overall level of consumer credit protection because key areas such as contract information were specifically covered by law for the first time. However, in order to place more importance on the effectiveness of consumer protection in practice, its provisions must be tightened up in some areas or additional rules introduced, for example regarding its scope and credit advertising.

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Benedikta Rupprecht

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Christian Prantner

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The mobile phone battery is the scourge of the modern world. Its short lifespan makes us desperately look for the charger when it is running out of juice. And it almost drives us up the wall when we can’t find the correct plug. This is particularly annoying for iPhone users: their devices can only be charged with Apple charger plugs. One wonders why?

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Virtually all sectors, institutions and digital users are affected by the innovative commercial potential of big data. Over time vast amounts of object data will become available for marketing and academic research, as well as purposes such as government planning and oversight, and will no longer need to be laboriously collected. By analysing user behaviour, standardised products, services and even prices can be customised.

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Daniela Zimmer

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On 26th March 2019, the European Parliament agreed with a clear majority (579 Yes, 33 No, 43 abstentions) to the Directive proposal on collective redress. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour and the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), this development is an important step to strengthen the rights of consumers.  

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On 6th December 2018, the Legal Affairs Committee voted in favour of allowing Europe’s consumers to bring combined action if they have been damaged collectively. This is a positive development, which the AK very much welcomes. A very good result could also be achieved for Europe’s workers as regards cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions of companies.