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Document 52009DC0336

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation)

/* COM/2009/0336 final */

52009DC0336

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation) /* COM/2009/0336 final */


[pic] | COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES |

Brussels, 2.7.2009

COM(2009) 336 final

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND TO THE COUNCIL

on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction 3

1.1. Background 3

1.2. Scope and methodology 3

2. The institutional and enforcement framework: establishing the CPC Network 4

2.1. Setting up the CPC Network: designation of authorities 4

2.2. Developing the IT-tool: the Consumer Protection Cooperation System 5

2.3. The CPC Committee 5

2.4. Modifications to the Regulation’s annex 5

3. Functioning of the CPC Network - a first assessment 6

3.1. General 6

3.2. The IT-tool 7

3.3. The Network’s operations: main shortcomings 7

4. The broader framework for cooperation 8

4.1. Common activities and exchange of officials 8

4.2. Enforcement cooperation with third countries 9

5. Conclusions 9

5.1. General 9

5.2. Consolidating the CPC-Network 9

5.3. Improving the Network’s efficiency and effectiveness 10

5.4. Strengthening the framework for administrative cooperation 11

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background

The Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation[1] (the "CPC Regulation") was adopted on 27 October 2004 and entered into force on 29 December 2006 following two years of intensive preparatory work by the Commission and Member States.

It establishes an EU-wide network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws in the Member States (the "CPC Network"), which started operating in December 2006. Within its scope, the CPC Regulation partially harmonises the authorities' investigative and enforcement powers and lays down the mechanisms for exchanging relevant information and/or taking enforcement action to stop infringements in cross-border situations[2]. It obliges Member States to act upon mutual assistance requests addressed to them through the CPC Network and to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the network's authorities to meet those obligations. The Regulation further provides a broader framework for the development of administrative cooperation initiatives for which the Commission provides funding.

Given that the Regulation forms part of the EEA Agreement[3], the same rules and mechanisms also apply to the EFTA countries applying the EEA Agreement. The latter are fully integrated into the network’s activities.

By providing an effective tool for cross-border enforcement and a framework for the exchange of best practice and common working, the Regulation seeks ultimately to guarantee a consistently high level of consumer protection throughout the EU and to reinforce consumers' confidence in the internal market.

1.2. Scope and methodology

This report complies with the Commission's obligation pursuant to Article 21 of the CPC Regulation to report every two years to the European Parliament and Council on the application of the said Regulation.

It covers the first two years of operations of the CPC Network, i.e. 2007 and 2008. Where appropriate, reference is made to the preparatory work carried out before 2007 to ensure that the network started operations on time in December 2006.

The report builds on the biennial reports prepared by the Member States[4] to meet their own reporting obligations under the Regulation as well as statistical data extracted from the IT-tool used by the CPC Network and the practical experience gained through the first EU-sweeps[5] coordinated by the Commission.

2. THE INSTITUTIONAL AND ENFORCEMENT FRAMEWORK: ESTABLISHING THE CPC NETWORK

The CPC Regulation lays down in its first two chapters the institutional and other elements that had to be in place to establish the CPC Network by the end of 2006.

2.1. Setting up the CPC Network: designation of authorities

To form the CPC Network, the Regulation requires Member States to designate public enforcement authorities (the ‘competent authorities’) and a Single Liaison Office to coordinate the application of the Regulation at national level. They are also required to ensure that these authorities have the minimum investigative and enforcement powers established by the Regulation and are granted adequate resources to meet their obligations.

All Member States had to make substantial efforts to adapt their national legislative framework to meet the CPC Regulation’s demands, in particular to set up the required structure to handle cross-border cooperation. Changes mostly concerned modifications to the investigative and enforcement powers conferred to national consumer authorities in order to comply with the minimum powers requirements set out in Article 4 of the Regulation. In some cases however, new authorities had to be created and the national enforcement system needed to be modified to ensure that public authorities were granted enforcement powers in accordance with the Regulation.

By the end of the reporting period, all Member States had notified to the Commission the list of authorities except for two Member States which still needed to formally notify the authorities responsible for enforcing of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCP Directive)[6].

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Regulation, the list of authorities notified to the Commission is published in the Official Journal of the European Union[7].

The Commission is closely monitoring the process of notification of authorities and has expressed concerns regarding the efficiency of the designated national administrative bodies in two cases, due to the large number of authorities involved and has invited the Member States to re-consider the notified enforcement framework. In both cases, an alternative has been proposed, but not yet implemented, due to delays in the national procedures for designating the new authorities.

As regards the obligation to provide adequate resources, it is difficult to fully assess the situation on the basis of the information provided in the national reports alone. The data in these reports seldom relates exclusively to CPC activities and is not comparable. It appears that the tasks carried out within the framework of the CPC Regulation are generally performed by officials in addition to their regular tasks and it is difficult to identify the resources dedicated to the Network. Although all authorities have designated at least one contact person for CPC-related matters, there seems to be important differences in the administrative capacity of the Member States.

2.2. Developing the IT-tool: the Consumer Protection Cooperation System

Article 10 of the CPC Regulation provides for the development of an IT-tool that authorities must use for exchanges of information. Developing and maintaining the Consumer Protection Cooperation System (CPCS) is the Commission’s responsibility.

The Commission has closely involved Member States in this project and established a group of key users, which provides assistance in the analytical work preceding the development of CPCS functionalities and the testing of new releases.

A first release with a core set of functionalities was operational prior to the launch of the CPC Network. Since then, several improvements have been introduced to enhance the tool's user-friendliness, improve existing functionalities and develop new features.

2.3. The CPC Committee

Under Article 19 of the Regulation, the Commission is assisted in its implementation tasks by a Committee composed of representatives from the Member States ("the CPC Committee"). This Committee is chaired by the Commission.

One of the Committee’s first tasks was to establish a set of rules for the CPC Network’s operations, which clarify some of the principles established by the CPC Regulation. They include provisions on time limits, minimum mandatory information requirements for requests and the different rights of access to the information exchanged through the IT-tool. The Commission adopted the implementing rules[8] in December 2006 in time for the Network’s launch.

2.4. Modifications to the Regulation’s annex

The CPC Regulation contains an annex listing the legal acts to which the cooperation mechanisms are applicable. The annex mainly covers EU consumer protection laws but also includes some other areas[9].

The annex was amended during the reporting period to include Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Commercial Practices. Three proposals to further expand the CPC annex are currently pending. These include the ban on spam[10] and two proposals on passenger rights in the areas of maritime and bus transport[11]. Whilst there are further proposals to enforce other EU legislation through the CPC Network, the Commission’s current priority is to consolidate the Network before engaging in further amendments to the annex to the Regulation.

3. FUNCTIONING OF THE CPC NETWORK - A FIRST ASSESSMENT

3.1. General

Following a relatively slow start, Network activity quickly accelerated to reach a total of 719 mutual assistance requests[12] in two years, of which 327 requests were created in 2007 and 392 in 2008. 40% of the information requests and 30% of the enforcement requests created were closed by the authorities during the same period.

The majority of the cases are requests for information (39% of the total number of cases) and requests to take enforcement measures to stop a confirmed breach of legislation (37% of the total number of cases). Enforcement requests almost doubled in the two years, thus registering the steepest rise.

In addition, the CPC Network has carried out two joint market surveillance and enforcement exercises ("sweeps") which took the form of internet inquiries: one on websites selling airline tickets in 2007 and one on websites offering ring tones for mobile phones in 2008. Enforcement work is still ongoing for the 2008 sweep.

The majority of infringements in the CPCS concerned misleading advertising provisions[13] (close to a third of the total number of cases) and online commercial practices (internet and mailings). In terms of sectors, the two EU-sweeps contributed to increasing the number of mutual assistance requests in the sectors where the authorities carried out their inquiries, namely 'transport' and 'communication'. Most striking is the lack or very low number of cases[14] concerning certain directives[15].

The Network’s activities are already producing tangible results for consumers. To give just one example, the airline sweep has resulted in airlines progressively improving their online booking processes and web pages to meet the requirements of EU legislation.

3.2. The IT-tool

The growing number of CPC cases and Member States' feedback confirm that the IT-tool is generally meeting the authorities’ expectations and fulfilling its purpose of facilitating exchanges of information.

Nevertheless, further improvements are needed. Member States have raised in particular the following issues:

( The high cost of connecting to the secure TESTA-network used by the CPCS. This is in particular an issue for authorities that rarely use the system due to a low number of cases in their area of competence;

( Delays in implementing new releases and upgrades;

( The absence of certain functionalities in the IT-tool, in particular features supporting preparation and coordination of joint market surveillance and enforcement exercises in accordance to Article 9 of the CPC Regulation.

Another challenge is to ensure that all users are able to use the IT-tool as required, i.e. including those who work in areas where there is hardly any CPC related activity. Some Member States would like the CPCS to incorporate multi-lingual interfaces.

3.3. The Network’s operations: main shortcomings

The experience gathered since the CPC Network was set up also reveals some shortcomings in the way the authorities work together:

( A significant number of authorities notified are either not connected or do not actively use the system, i.e. they are not issuing requests for mutual assistance, although this is a precondition for the effective functioning of the CPC Network. A third of the authorities with password and access are not actively using the CPCS[16];

( Requests are taking longer and longer to be closed: as an illustration of this, whilst information requests were being closed in an average of 81 days until June 2008, this figure had increased to 148 by the end of 2008. This can partially be explained by the greater complexity of cross-border cases, but is often an indicator of non-compliance with established deadlines or other operating requirements;

( Authorities are using the IT tool in such different ways that this may be having a negative impact on their cooperation efforts. The use of alerts, for instance, is dividing the Network between those who advocate a widespread transmission to all authorities and those who prefer a more selective approach. At the heart of this discussion are resource considerations, since authorities need to verify whether the -infringement also affects their national consumers. Sometimes key information is missing, forcing authorities to seek clarifications and/or undertake lengthier inquiries;

( The implementing rules need reviewing in the light of practical experience gained in the first two years of Network operations. Rules for the deletion of cases (notably alerts) lack consistency and certain data protection aspects ought to be clarified. A reality check in respect of certain provisions, such as the time limits set for transmission of requests or feedback, is also needed;

- Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights which is covered by the CPC Regulation provides for the appointment of its own national enforcement authorities. These authorities are empowered to take enforcement measures against both national and non-national operators working on their territory. This may have contributed to a limited use of the CPC Network in this sector.

The Network’s enforcement work has also revealed that issues of a more horizontal nature need to be addressed if the Network is to reach its full potential:

( There is a need to develop a shared understanding of relevant facts and a common interpretation of EU consumer protection rules, for instance, a definition of "collective consumer interests". Different views have also emerged as to how the consumer acquis interacts with other pieces of relevant EU legislation.

( The question of jurisdiction and applicable law when public authorities are exercising their powers and the extent to which the obligation to cooperate introduced by the CPC Regulation applies;

( To maximise the impact of its work and to develop into a strong EU-wide dissuasive force, the Network needs to gain a higher profile.

4. THE BROADER FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

4.1. Common activities and exchange of officials

Beyond the procedural cooperation provisions, the CPC Regulation aims at encouraging the exchange of best practice and cooperation through working together in common projects or joint activities as well as a scheme for the exchange of officials for which the Commission provides funding. The range of activities is therefore very broad: from seminars, training courses, awareness-raising measures to projects developing common standards, methodologies and enforcement techniques.

The Network engaged in several of these projects and exchanges in its first two years of operation, but has made limited use of the financial means the Commission made available in 2008. The main difficulties raised by the Member States are:

( The activities and scheme are not well known among authorities;

( There is a risk of dispersion of resources over too many different projects which may reduce the Network’s effectiveness;

( Administrative complexities in the application procedure and grant provisions, in particular for the project leader(s).

4.2. Enforcement cooperation with third countries

Article 18 of the Regulation provides a legal basis for entering into cooperation agreements with enforcement authorities in third countries.

In an increasingly globalised world, the rationale for stronger cooperation between enforcement authorities also applies to relations with authorities outside the European Union, especially with those in countries that already have strong economic ties with the Member States. Contacts exploring options for cooperation with the US authorities and Switzerland, both identified in discussion with the Member States as priorities, are being stepped up.

5. CONCLUSIONS

5.1. General

The CPC Regulation has proved to be a powerful enforcement tool increasing the level of consumer protection throughout the EU. It has closed a gap by providing national enforcers with a means of effectively putting an end to commercial practices harming consumers in cross-border situations and making it easier for them to join forces to create a credible enforcement environment in the EU.

The Network is producing tangible results for consumers. Cooperation between Spanish and French authorities for instance led in April 2008 to the arrest of 87 persons and the stamping out of a lottery scam operated from Spain. The EU-sweeps are another good example of such cooperation.

The assessment of the Network’s first two years of operation shows nevertheless that it has not yet reached its full potential and reveals a series of shortcomings. The Commission’s priority is to work in close partnership with the Member States to address these issues within the existing legal framework. It reserves, as a measure of last resort, the right to initiate infringement proceedings against Member States which persistently and systematically fail to meet their obligations under the Regulation.

5.2. Consolidating the CPC-Network

The Commission will strive to consolidate the Network by ensuring that all authorities designated by the Member States actively use the IT-system. The IT-tool is being further improved, particularly with regard to developing new features and increasing its user friendliness. Training capacity was enhanced through the creation of a network of national trainers at the end of 2008.

One key issue in this context will be to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the authorities whilst taking due account of the constraints resulting from the current economic crisis. Another will be to identify and address the reason why authorities are not using the CPC cooperation mechanisms in certain areas.

5.3. Improving the Network’s efficiency and effectiveness

The CPC Network should benefit greater operational efficiency through a series of measures which could in due course also include a review of the CPC Regulation:

( The implementing rules will be revised in 2010 to close gaps, review existing rules in the light of insight gained over the past two years and to ensure a more consistent and quicker handling of mutual assistance requests;

( The exchange of views, experience and best practice through discussions in the CPC Committee and in the dedicated workshops will be used to develop common standards and techniques, manuals and other guidance documents for CPC users such as guidelines and FAQ;

( The adoption of an annual Enforcement Action Plan, introduced in 2008, should contribute to further focusing the Network’s activities. By using a stronger evidence base, drawing on data collected by the European Consumer Centres Network[17] and the Consumers Markets Scoreboard[18], as well as the information provided by national authorities, it will further strengthen and concentrate the activities undertaken by the Network. The annual plans should eventually be embedded in an overall framework of longer-term priorities agreed with Member States;

( The joint exercises, such as the EU-sweeps, should continue to play a key role in the CPC Network's activities since they provide the EU perspective to the authorities’ market surveillance and enforcement work required by the internal market. As the Network gains more experience, it would benefit from examining new ways of carrying out joint market surveillance and/or enforcement work.

( The Network should work towards common understanding of EU consumer legislation. The Commission has begun developing advisory guidance to authorities through dedicated discussions in seminars and workshops as well as promoting existing tools such as the EU Consumer Law Compendium[19] or the planned advisory database focused on the UCP Directive.

( The Commission will determine with Member States the most appropriate means (e.g. targeted media activities or a CPC website) to give more visibility to the Network’s activities. This will send a strong enforcement message to markets. Activities raising consumer awareness would also contribute to this goal. .

5.4. Strengthening the framework for administrative cooperation

The CPC Network should benefit from further developing the potential for cooperation provided by the Regulation, including Commission projects to improve the collection of data on consumer issues and to develop a common complaints classification. This type of activity creates an environment favourable to building trust between authorities and to the exchange of knowledge, expertise and best practice, thereby enhancing the quality and effectiveness of enforcement work throughout the EU.

Encouraging these joint actions through financial contributions therefore remains a Commission priority, in particular activities which contribute to improving the Network’s work in the form of manuals, common standards or methodologies (e.g. the manual on how to carry out sweeps developed in 2008 by a group of authorities that will be tested in the 2009 exercise). Preparatory meetings for joint actions should help to overcome the administrative difficulties encountered by authorities when applying for EU funding.

ANNEX I

1. Total number of mutual assistance requests

Year | Alerts (Art. 7) | Information Requests (Art. 6) | Enforcement Requests (Art. 8) | TOTAL Member States only | TOTAL including EEA countries requests |

2007 | 71 | 161 | 95 | 317 | 327 |

2008 | 100 | 122 | 170 | 384 | 392 |

TOTAL | 171 | 283 | 265 | 701 | 719 |

2. Mutual assistance requests per directive infringed (2007 – 2008)

Art. 6 Information | Art. 7 Alerts | Art. 8 Enforcement | TOTAL |

2007 | 2008 | 2007 | 2008 | 2007 | 2008 |

Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices | 1 | 86 | 0 | 40 | 4 | 73 | 204 |

Directive 84/450/EEC on misleading advertising | 48 | 0 | 34 | 0 | 35 | 0 | 117 |

Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce | 3 | 9 | 7 | 20 | 15 | 48 | 102 |

Directive 93/13/EC on unfair terms in consumer contracts | 21 | 10 | 15 | 7 | 10 | 14 | 77 |

Directive 97/7/EC on distance contracts | 11 | 4 | 4 | 11 | 9 | 22 | 61 |

Directive 97/55/EC amending Directive 84/450/EEC concerning misleading advertising so as to include comparative advertising | 40 | 0 | 4 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 47 |

Directive 94/47/EC on timesharing | 27 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 29 |

Directive 85/577/EC on contracts negotiated away from business premises | 1 | 10 | 0 | 6 | 1 | 0 | 18 |

Directive 2001/83/EC on medicinal products for human use | 2 | 0 | 3 | 2 | 6 | 2 | 15 |

Directive 1999/44/EC on sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees | 2 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 3 | 4 | 14 |

Regulation (EC) N° 261/2004 on denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights | 1 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 12 |

Directive 98/6/EC on indication of prices | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 6 |

Directive 90/314/EC on package travel, package holiday and package tour | 2 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 6 |

Directive 2002/65/EC on distance marketing of consumer financial services | 0 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 0 | 5 |

Directive 87/102 on consumer credit | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 2 |

Directive 89/552 on television broadcasting activities | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 2 |

3. Mutual assistance requests per sector (2007 – 2008)

2007 | 2008 | Total |

Art 6 | Art 8 | Art 7 | Art 6 | Art 8 | Art 7 |

Clothing and footwear | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 5 | 0 | 6 |

Communication | 0 | 2 | 1 | 4 | 25 | 15 | 47 |

Education | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 3 |

Food and non-alcoholic beverage | 1 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 5 |

Furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 4 |

Health | 6 | 11 | 6 | 5 | 14 | 6 | 48 |

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 |

Miscellaneous goods and services | 30 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 24 | 12 | 93 |

Outside classification | 10 | 9 | 4 | 59 | 39 | 35 | 156 |

Recreation and culture | 35 | 13 | 4 | 15 | 13 | 17 | 97 |

Restaurants and hotels | 5 | 2 | 1 | 19 | 0 | 8 | 35 |

Transport | 72 | 46 | 45 | 8 | 47 | 6 | 224 |

TOTAL | 161 | 95 | 71 | 122 | 170 | 100 | 719 |

4. Days (average) to close a mutual assistance requests in the CPCS

June 2008 | October 2008 | December 2008 |

Information requests (art. 6) | 81 | 132 | 148 |

Enforcement Requests (art.8) | 123 | 173 | 177 |

5. Mutual assistance requests issued by Member State in 2007

Information Requests Art. 6 | Alerts Art. 7 | Enforcement Requests Art. 8 | TOTAL |

Belgium | 42 | 51 | 35 | 128 |

Bulgaria | 4 | 0 | 8 | 12 |

Czech Republic | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2 |

Denmark | 12 | 0 | 0 | 12 |

Germany | 1 | 2 | 2 | 5 |

Estonia | 1 | 1 | 6 | 8 |

Ireland | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Greece | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Spain | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

France | 19 | 7 | 14 | 40 |

Italy | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 |

Cyprus | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Latvia | 0 | 1 | 3 | 4 |

Lithuania | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Luxembourg | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Hungary | 68 | 2 | 0 | 70 |

Malta | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

The Netherlands | 3 | 0 | 0 | 3 |

Austria | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2 |

Poland | 0 | 0 | 1 | 1 |

Portugal | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Romania | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Slovenia | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Slovakia | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 |

Finland | 5 | 0 | 0 | 5 |

Sweden | 3 | 0 | 4 | 7 |

United Kingdom | 0 | 5 | 9 | 14 |

TOTAL | 160 | 71 | 86 | 317 |

6. Mutual assistance requests issued by Member State in 2008

Information Requests Art. 6 | Alerts Art. 7 | Enforcement Requests Art. 8 | TOTAL |

Belgium | 28 | 43 | 48 | 119 |

Bulgaria | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 |

Czech Republic | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Denmark | 0 | 1 | 13 | 14 |

Germany | 3 | 2 | 7 | 12 |

Estonia | 10 | 0 | 2 | 12 |

Ireland | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Greece | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Spain | 0 | 0 | 8 | 8 |

France | 7 | 0 | 9 | 16 |

Italy | 1 | 1 | 0 | 2 |

Cyprus | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Latvia | 0 | 1 | 10 | 11 |

Lithuania | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Luxembourg | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Hungary | 6 | 4 | 20 | 30 |

Malta | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

The Netherlands | 2 | 4 | 7 | 13 |

Austria | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 |

Poland | 2 | 0 | 7 | 9 |

Portugal | 0 | 1 | 0 | 1 |

Romania | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Slovenia | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

Slovakia | 0 | 0 | 3 | 3 |

Finland | 0 | 20 | 11 | 31 |

Sweden | 15 | 10 | 8 | 33 |

United Kingdom | 43 | 12 | 10 | 65 |

TOTAL | 118 | 100 | 166 | 384 |

7. Mutual assistance requests received by Member State in 2007

Information Requests Art. 6 | Alerts Art. 7 | Enforcement Requests Art. 8 | TOTAL |

Belgium | 7 | 54 | 0 | 67 |

Bulgaria | 2 | 55 | 0 | 57 |

Czech Republic | 4 | 55 | 0 | 59 |

Denmark | 7 | 55 | 2 | 64 |

Germany | 10 | 55 | 7 | 72 |

Estonia | 2 | 53 | 2 | 57 |

Ireland | 7 | 56 | 9 | 72 |

Greece | 2 | 55 | 1 | 58 |

Spain | 10 | 52 | 10 | 72 |

France | 6 | 56 | 3 | 65 |

Italy | 3 | 54 | 2 | 59 |

Cyprus | 3 | 56 | 1 | 60 |

Latvia | 5 | 54 | 4 | 63 |

Lithuania | 2 | 54 | 1 | 57 |

Luxembourg | 4 | 56 | 2 | 62 |

Hungary | 4 | 55 | 4 | 63 |

Malta | 1 | 54 | 0 | 55 |

The Netherlands | 27 | 60 | 15 | 102 |

Austria | 4 | 56 | 7 | 67 |

Poland | 3 | 55 | 3 | 61 |

Portugal | 5 | 55 | 0 | 60 |

Romania | 3 | 49 | 1 | 53 |

Slovenia | 2 | 54 | 1 | 59 |

Slovakia | 8 | 55 | 2 | 65 |

Finland | 3 | 54 | 1 | 58 |

Sweden | 6 | 54 | 5 | 65 |

United Kingdom | 18 | 63 | 9 | 90 |

TOTAL | 158 | *) | 92 | *) |

*) Alerts are sent to several authorities at the same time. A total of the number of alerts received by the Member States would therefore count the same alert several times.

8. Mutual assistance requests received by Member State in 2008

Information Requests art. 6 | Alerts Art. 7 | Enforcement Requests art. 8 | TOTAL |

Belgium | 9 | 70 | 6 | 85 |

Bulgaria | 0 | 63 | 0 | 63 |

Czech Republic | 2 | 63 | 1 | 66 |

Denmark | 1 | 64 | 1 | 66 |

Germany | 13 | 68 | 20 | 101 |

Estonia | 0 | 64 | 7 | 71 |

Ireland | 2 | 63 | 19 | 84 |

Greece | 5 | 63 | 0 | 68 |

Spain | 29 | 59 | 10 | 98 |

France | 5 | 65 | 18 | 88 |

Italy | 3 | 51 | 8 | 62 |

Cyprus | 0 | 64 | 0 | 64 |

Latvia | 1 | 63 | 2 | 66 |

Lithuania | 1 | 63 | 3 | 67 |

Luxembourg | 1 | 68 | 1 | 70 |

Hungary | 3 | 55 | 3 | 61 |

Malta | 1 | 54 | 0 | 55 |

The Netherlands | 24 | 59 | 37 | 120 |

Austria | 3 | 66 | 3 | 72 |

Poland | 1 | 63 | 1 | 65 |

Portugal | 1 | 63 | 4 | 68 |

Romania | 0 | 53 | 0 | 53 |

Slovenia | 1 | 64 | 2 | 67 |

Slovakia | 4 | 63 | 5 | 72 |

Finland | 1 | 74 | 0 | 75 |

Sweden | 2 | 72 | 5 | 79 |

United Kingdom | 8 | 65 | 11 | 84 |

TOTAL | 121 | *) | 167 | *) |

*) Alerts are sent to several authorities at the same time. A total of the number of alerts received by the Member States would therefore count the same alert several times.

9. Connections to the CPCS and usage check

Number of designated authorities which never asked for access | Number of authorities which did not use the CPCS despite having access | Total number of designated authorities with CPCS access |

November 2008 | 12 | 127 | 252 |

February 2009 | n/a | 78 | 252 |

[1] Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws (the Regulation on consumer protection cooperation); OJ L 364, 9.12.2004, p. 1.

[2] The network acts to protect consumers' collective interest and therefore does not handle individual consumer complaints.

[3] Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 92/2006 of 7 July 2006.

[4] The Member States' biennial reports are published on the Europa Site.

[5] EU-sweeps are common market surveillance and enforcement exercises carried out by the Network's authorities.

[6] Directive 2005/29/EC of 11 May 2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market, OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22-39.

[7] OJ C 40, 23.2.2007 and OJ C 286, 28.11.2007. An update reflecting changes notified since June 2007 is currently under preparation.

[8] Commission Decision of 22 December 2006 implementing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws as regards mutual assistance last amended by Commission Decision 2008/282/EC of 17 March 2008; OJ L 32, 6.2.2007 and OJ L 89, 1.4.2008.

[9] Other areas include for instance: Regulation (EC)No 261/2004 on air passenger rights, OJ L 46, 17.2.2004; Directive 2000/31/EC on electronic commerce, OJ L 178, 17.7.2000;

[10] Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communication sector: Article 13 as regards the protection of consumers (OJ L 2001, 31.07.2002, p.37).

[11] Proposal for a Regulation concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws [COM(2008)816]

Proposal for a Regulation on the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws [COM(2008)817]

[12] Under the CPC cooperation mechanisms authorities can either simply send a warning message ('alert') to other authorities concerned, request relevant information to support its own investigations and enforcement work, ('request for information') or ask another authority to take appropriate measures to stop a practice that is in breach of the law ('enforcement requests')

[13] These were infringements in relation to the Council Directive 84/450/EEC concerning misleading advertising up until the end of 2007, when the provisions on misleading advertising relating to business- to-consumers relations were taken over by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC.

[14] i.e. fewer than 10 requests in two years, most of which were alerts.

[15] See Annex 1 for further details.

[16] See relevant section in Annex 1.

[17] ECC-Net is a joint initiative on the part of the Commission and the Member States, which provides consumers with practical information, advice on their rights and assistance with cross-border complaints.

[18] First Edition of the Consumer Market Scoreboard COM (2008) 31 final and the Second edition of the Consumer Market Scoreboard COM (2009) 25/3.

[19] The Compendium links the Consumer acquis, relevant ECJ jurisprudence, national transposition measures and national case-law.

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