Commission Decision creates ‘Executive Agency for Health and Consumers’

On June 20th, the European Commission adopted the Decision 2008/544/EC in order to transform the former ‘Executive Agency for the Public Health Programme’ into the ‘Executive Agency for Health and Consumers’ (PHEA), amending some provisions set up by the Decision 2004/858/EC.

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Internet phone calls getting popular in European homes

An EU-wide survey of 27,000 households has revealed the emergence of new consumption patterns in telecoms services in Europe.

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Commission acts on gender equality legislation

The Commission has today sent reasoned opinions to the Czech Republic, Greece and Poland for non-transposition of EU rules prohibiting discrimination in the access to and supply of goods and services (Directive 2004/113/EC). Member States have two months to respond. If they fail to reply or if the response is unsatisfactory, the Commission can decide to bring the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

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Commission consults on bringing down mobile phone tariffs in Europe

The European Commission started, on June 26th. 2008, a public consultation on the future regulation of "voice call termination rates" in the EU, based on a draft Commission Recommendation on termination rates. This consultation aims to spur competition among operators and lower phone charges for European consumers.

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EDPS Opinion on safer Internet for children: data protection is an essential prerequisite to the safety of children online

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted an Opinion on the proposed multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies, which was presented by the European Commission in February 2008.

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Commission proposes strengthening European Judicial Network

The Commission has adopted a proposal for the review of the 2001 decision on the European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters between the Member States. The purpose of this proposal is to endow the network with a new legal framework, a more effective organisational structure and greater means to enable it to play a lead role within the European judicial area as the essential vehicle for cooperation between all those involved in civil justice in future.

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Towards a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers

MEPs adopted a report on "Towards a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers" which underlines the potential added value of the Charter as an information tool collecting, consolidating the energy rights of consumers as already adopted in the existing EU legislation. MEPs call on Member States to invest as a priority in energy efficiency measures for low-income households, thereby addressing in a strategic manner both the problem of fuel poverty and the "20% by 2020" energy efficiency.

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Gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce grows wider, says EU report

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva announced on the 20th June 2008, the results of a new EU wide survey on e-commerce and cross border trade. The figures show that even though e-commerce is taking off at national level, cross-border e-commerce is failing to keep pace. From 2006 to 2008, the share of all EU consumers that have bought at least one item over the internet has increased significantly (from 27% to 33%) whilst cross border e-commerce is stable (6% to 7%). The pattern is similar for those with internet access at home - 56% of consumers with internet at home have made a purchase (in any country including their own) by e-commerce compared to 50% in 2006, while only 13% (of those with internet access at home) made a cross-border e-commerce purchase compared to 12% in 2006.

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Commission sets out 5 priorities for consumer policy in a digital age

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, in a speech in London, on the 20th June 2008, set out five priority areas for action for consumer policy in the digital age. These include: a single, simple set of consumer contract laws, the need to reconsider restrictions imposed by suppliers on distribution over the internet, a critical assessment of the use of business models based on geographical discrimination online, clamping down on the "next generation" of unfair commercial practices that are emerging online; and addressing critical privacy issues, in particular the conditions under which consumers give informed consent for the use of their personal data. The overall aim is to open up the Internal Market through e-commerce to deliver the full benefits to consumers.

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Non-opposition to a notified concentration between Bridgepoint and Pret a Manger

On 2 April 2008, the Commission decided not to oppose the between Bridgepoint and Pret a Manger. The EC also declare it
compatible with the common market.

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Commission welcomes EP vote on water quality standards

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's second reading vote today approving the agreement reached with the Council on the proposed directive on environmental quality standards in the field of water. The directive will better protect rivers, lakes and coastal waters against pollution from a range of chemical substances.

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