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.
On 12th March 2020, the European Commission revealed another component of its plan to make Europe energy neutral by 2050: the circular economy action plan shall ensure that the European economy becomes more resource efficient. This does not only concern improved recycling and the reuse of raw materials, but also facilitating repairs and providing better information for consumers.
Cash machine (ATM) fees can be a nasty surprise when staying in other EU countries, not least for Austrian holidaymakers. The Chamber of Labour has carried out an online survey to collect data from several countries that provide an overview of the situation.
A recent survey by the Chamber of Labour shows big differences regarding the amount of fees for cash withdrawal with automated teller machine (ATM) cards in the euro-area. From the AK’s point of view, there is a need for action here – at the national as well as the European level.
Currently, the reforms of rail and air passenger rights, which are established at European level, are negotiated in Brussels. Even though a current study by the Commission determines a need for action, passengers might enjoy fewer rights in future, in particular in respect of possible compensation in case of delays or cancellations.
Anyone surfing the internet leaves behind valuable traces for the digital economy. The latter has a great interest in skimming off data as unnoticed as possible - and being able to use it. The original aim of a 2017 draft Regulation of the Commission was to protect users’ privacy. However, discussions in the Council point in another direction. The latest AK Position Paper summarizes the state of play.
Safeguarding a high level of consumer protection and developing sectoral data privacy laws in Europe is one of the major concerns of the Austrian Chamber of Labour. Therefore, we place special emphasis on ensuring that the needs of telecom and internet users, especially regarding their adequately strict protection of privacy and personal data, receive appropriate attention within the e-privacy Regulation.
Scandals like the Dieselgate and Cambridge Analytica have made it clear that until today the enforcement of consumer rights in Europe is still inadequate. In most of the EU member states, Austria amongst, many deficiencies exist regarding the enforcement of representative action claims against foreign companys as well as regarding minor damages.
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.
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.