EU adopts new rules on sales contracts for goods and digital content

The EU is introducing new rules to make it easier and safer for consumers to buy and companies to sell both goods and digital content cross-border.

The Council today adopted a package comprising a directive on contracts for the supply of digital content and services (Digital content directive), and a directive on contracts the sales of goods (Sales of goods directive). This formal adoption marks the end of the legislative procedure.

The objective is to provide a high level of protection and legal certainty for European consumers, in particular when buying across borders as well as to make it easier for businesses, especially SMEs, to sell EU-wide.

  • The European Union is boosting consumer rights for Europeans and creating new business opportunities for EU companies. Companies will be able to cut red tape when they want to expand and start selling across the Union. This will help in particular SMEs to extend their operations in other EU countries.

          Niculae Bădălău, Minister of Economy of Romania

  • Consumers will benefit from a higher level of protection thanks to the EU. They will be entitled to remedies when they buy anything from clothes to complex goods, such as smart watches, or when they purchase cloud services, antivirus software or e-books.

          Tudorel Toader, Minister of justice of Romania

The digital content directive introduces a high level of protection for consumers paying for a service but also for those providing data in exchange for such service. The new rules foresee in particular that, if it is not possible to fix defects within a reasonable amount of time, the consumer is entitled to a price reduction or full reimbursement. Moreover, the guarantee period cannot be shorter than two years.

The sale of goods directive will apply to all goods, including those products with a digital element (e.g. smart fridges).  The new rules introduce a two years minimum guarantee period (from the time the consumer receives the good) and  a one year period for the reversed burden of proof in favour of the consumer. Countries can go beyond those times to maintain their current level of consumer protection.

Next steps

The texts will now be formally signed and publish in the Official journal. Member states will have two years to transpose the new rules into their national law.

Background

The "digital content directive" concerns the supply of digital content and covers: data produced and supplied in digital form (e.g. music, online video, etc.), services allowing for the creation, processing or storage of data in digital form (e.g. cloud storage), services allowing for the sharing of data (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and any durable medium used exclusively as a carrier of digital content (e.g. DVDs). 'Over the top' interpersonal communication services (OTTs), bundle contracts and the processing of personal data are included within the scope of the DCD directive.

The "sales of goods directive" concerns all sales of goods, whether than happens physically (in shops), online or in any distance sale. Goods with a digital component (e.g. smart fridge or intelligent watch) are covered by this directive.

Both directives are based on the principle of maximum harmonisation, which means member states cannot deviate from the requirements. However, on some aspects, some room is foreseen for EU countries to go beyond the requirements in order in particular to maintain the level of consumer protection already applied at national level.

Source: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/04/15/eu-adopts-new-rules-on-sales-contracts-for-goods-and-digital-content

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EU puts in place tighter rules to fight non cash payment fraud

The EU is stepping up the fight against fraud involving non-cash means of payment (credit cards, online shopping, etc.) by upgrading and modernising the existing rules.

The Council formally adopted today the directive on combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment. Member states have 2 years to implement the new rules.

The directive updates the existing rules to ensure that a clear, robust and technology-neutral legal framework is in place. It also gets ride of operational obstacles that hamper investigation and prosecution, and foresees actions to enhance public awareness of fraudulent techniques such as phishing or skimming.

Main provisions of the text

The directive aims to be technology-neutral and encompass not only traditional non-cash payments such as bank cards or cheques but also new ways of making payment which have appeared over recent years, such as electronic wallets, mobile payments and virtual currencies.

Some of the main provisions are:

  • Harmonised definitions of some online crime offences, such as hacking a victim's computer or phishing;
  • Harmonised rules on penalties for natural persons: five, four or three years of prison, depending on the offence, as the minimum penalty in cases where a judge imposes the national “maximum” custodial sentence for non-cash payment fraud;
  • Assistance and support to ensure victims are sufficiently informed of their rights and citizens are advised on how to protect themselves from such frauds;
  • Clarification of the scope of jurisdiction to ensure cross border fraud is tackled more effectively.

The directive provides for minimum rules, so member states are free to go further and implement more stringent rules, including a broader definition of offences or higher penalties.

Next steps

This formal votes marks the end of the legislative process. The directive will now be formally signed and then published in the official journal. Member states will have two years (from the publication in the OJ) to implement the new provisions.

Background

In 2013, it is estimated that €1.44 billion was stolen by criminals through non cash payment fraud. Around 36 billion of phishing messages are sent every year to European citizens.

The directive was proposed by the Commission in September 2017 as part of the EU's response to the challenge of cybersecurity. It updates the Council framework decision 2001/413/JHA dating back to 2001.

Source: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/04/09/eu-puts-in-place-tighter-rules-to-fight-non-cash-payment-fraud/

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The meeting of Mr. Tudorel TOADER, Minister of Justice, with Her Excellency Mrs. Lise Nicoline KLEVEN GREVSTAD, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Romania

In the context of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the National Administration of Penitentiaries organize, in Sinaia, on April 1-4, 2019, the International Conference of the directors of penitentiaries services on the topic of “Contemporary challenges in European prison systems – Preventing the phenomenon of radicalization and reducing overcrowding in prisons”.

During this event, on April 2nd, 2019, Mr. Tudorel TOADER, Minister of Justice, had a meeting with Her Excellency Mrs. Lise Nicoline KLEVEN GREVSTAD, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Romania.

During the meeting, topics regarding the current state of mutual cooperation in justice matters and the collaboration within the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, Justice Programme, were discussed.

Both officials expressed their commitment for the maintaining of a great collaboration relationship in justice matters between Romania and the Kingdom of Norway.

The meeting represented a great opportunity for the consolidation of bilateral relations that exist between the two states.

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EU to facilitate cross-border mobility of companies

The Romanian Presidency has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on 13 March on the directive that facilitates EU companies’ cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions. On 27 March Member States’ ambassadors, sitting in Coreper, endorsed this important compromise reached by the Romanian Presidency, through the Ministry of Justice team.

This Directive is one of the two files of the Company Law package introduced as part of the Commission’s Single Market Strategy and proposed by the European Commission in April 2018. On the other file on Digitalization processes and digital tools throughout a company’s lifecycle, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreement on 4 February.

The Company Law Package represented a priority for the Romanian Ministry of Justice, which was responsible for coordinating the activity on both files, being convinced that the two instruments would achieve better results by working together. For the first time in European Union law, rules are provided for cross border conversions and divisions and the regime of cross border merger is improved, the legal framework being adapted to the economic and social realities.

The compromise text introduced a mandatory anti-abuse assessment in a way that the competent authority from the departure Member State, after examining the completion of procedures and formalities and all relevant information, shall not issue the pre-operation certificate if the cross border conversion, merger or division is unlawful and it was designed for fraudulent purposes.

“The business community and the European Court of Justice have increasingly highlighted the need for harmonized rules on the transfer of seat of the companies within the internal market – simple, unitary, modern rules offering adequate protection for the legitimate interests of shareholders, creditors and employees. Mobility is, therefore, a right of honest entrepreneurs and the new directive ensures its effectiveness while protecting against the risk of abuse in the exercise of this right”, declared the Minister of Justice, University Professor Dr. Tudorel Toader.

The proposed directive provides additional protection to employees, ensuring a more transparent approach and effective information to them about the planned cross-border conversion, merger or division and stronger safeguards for creditors and minority shareholders. Also, the directive encourages the use of digital tools throughout the cross border operation. All necessary formalities, such as the issuance of the pre-operation certificate, may be completed in their entirety online. The exchange of relevant information should be done via the system of interconnection of business registers (BRIS).

Source: https://www.romania2019.eu/2019/04/01/eu-to-facilitate-cross-border-mobility-of-companies

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The meeting of Mr. Tudorel TOADER, Minister of Justice, with His Excellency Mr. Daulet BATRASHEV, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Romania

On March 28th, 2019, at the seat of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Tudorel TOADER, Minister of Justice, had a meeting with His Excellency Mr. Daulet BATRASHEV, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Romania.

During the meeting, topics regarding the current state of bilateral cooperation in justice matters and the development of the mutual collaboration were discussed.

Both officials expressed their commitment to the development of the mutual cooperation and for the process of finding the best solutions in problems of mutual interest.

The meeting represented a great opportunity for the consolidation of bilateral relations that exist between the two states.

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