The European Commission on Friday initiated infringement proceedings against Spain and twenty other countries for failing to amend their national legislation to adapt to the new EU rules allowing the protection of consumer interests through the filing of class actions, a step that EU countries should have complied with last December.
The 2020 Representative Actions Directive aims to ensure that all European consumers benefit fully from the rights conferred on them by EU law.
To this end, it grants qualified entities (e.g. consumer organizations) the possibility to bring collective actions on behalf of consumers and introduces enhanced sanctioning powers for Member States’ consumer authorities and allows, through these class actions, the possibility to seek redress for groups of consumers who have been harmed by an unlawful commercial practice.
As the Directive entered into force in December 2020, Member States had two years to transpose it into national law and inform the Commission. “Unfortunately, although work is ongoing in most Member States to adopt the laws, a large number of Member States did not notify national measures fully transposing the Directive by the deadline of 25 December 2022 and will therefore receive letters of formal notice,” the Commission said.
The Member States that will receive these letters of formal notice are Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.