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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.

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The European Court of Auditors has issued a Special Report on passenger and air passenger rights. In doing so he clearly illustrated the problems incurred by passengers: there is a lack of information and practical enforcement. In a parallel vote, Parliament voted in favour of significantly increasing rail passenger rights.

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Unfortunately, the vote on 22nd October 2018 in the European Parliament did not deliver the demands of the citizens’ initiative “Right2Water” to the extent hoped for with regard to its transposition into EU legislation. Hence, the human right to clean and affordable drinking water for all Europeans has not been secured.

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The Volkswagen scandal showed how vulnerable consumers across Europe are when they are cheated. Because most people don’t go to court individually to take on a multinational company, a good solution is to go to court as a group. But only a handful of EU countries offer a working and relatively efficient system for this. In the big majority of countries, it is either legally impossible to do so, or the system in place does not function properly.

 

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On 10th September 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted on the proposal on a recast of the Drinking Water Directive. The Citizens’ Initiative “Right2Water”, which had been supported by the Chamber of Labour, demands the enshrinement of a human right to clean and affordable drinking water for all Europeans. However, this demand was not as distinctly implemented as it would be necessary from the AK’s point of view. That is why improvements are needed for the plenary vote scheduled for October.

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On 30th August 2018, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) hosted a breakfast debate on the so-called “New Deal for Consumers”. At the centre of the discussion were above all the regulation of online platforms and their growing influence as well as the proposed cuts with regard to the right of withdrawal in case of online purchases. How red-hot the topic is, was also demonstrated by this week’s meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

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On Monday, 10th September 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will vote on the recast of the Drinking Water Directive. This revision has been triggered by the Citizen’s Initiative “Right2Water” - supported by the Chamber of Labour - , where in 2013 over 1.8 million EU citizens demanded for water to become a human right.

Publications

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Steps towards a successful Austrian EU Council Presidencyin 2018 from worker‘s point of view

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Norbert Templ

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Valentin Wedl

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The Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (BAK) expressly welcomes the Proposal for a directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers (COM (2018) 184), the aim of which is the effective assertion of consumers’ rights. However, in the opinion of the BAK, the details still need some supplementation or amendment.
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Jasmin Habersberger

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