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High level expert discussion with Commissioner Jourová

Contract rules for online purchase of digital content and tangible goods


Foto: High level expert discussion with Commissioner Jourová.


“Loosing of opportunity for the European digital single market has to be avoided and the level of protection for the consumers will be better in the EU, when a common rule applies to contract law when traded online”, said Commissioner Jourová in her keynote speech opening the ERA event in Brussels.
Additionally MEP Axel Voss explained his views as vice-chair of the Committee on Legal Affairs in the European Parliament to the audience. “Europe needs to adapt to the high speed of developments in global digital environment,” said Axel Voss. Nevertheless, the new Commission proposal should not create differences between online and offline trades. He also pointed out, that advantages have to apply both to sellers and consumers as contractual partners. Contract rules for online sales are a new category of European civil law has been one of Mr Voss conclusions.

As representative of the European Commission, Professor Dirk Staudenmayer, responsible for contract law in DG Justice, explained the impact of the legislative proposal and answered the questions from the participants and the critical remarks of the guest speakers.
Main topics have been the scope of the directives, the definition of conformity, remedies and the specifics of supply of digital content. Academic analysis have been given by Professor Hugh Beale (University of Warwick & Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford), Professor Marco B.M. Loos (Centre for the Study of European Contract Law, University of Amsterdam), Professor Matthias E. Storme (Institute for Commercial and Insolvency Law, KU Leuven) and Professor Friedrich Graf von Westphalen (Rechtsanwalt, Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner, Cologne).

The practical impact of the proposals and questions about standards and costs have been discussed by Razvan Antemir (EMOTA, e-commerce trade association), Samuel Laurinkari (eBay Inc.), Pedro Oliveira (Businesseurope) and Ursula Pachl (BEUC The European Consumer Organisation). 
On 9 December 2015 the European Commission published two proposals for Directives covering harmonised rules for the supply of digital content and mandatory contract rights for online and distance sales of goods in order to fully unleash the potential of e commerce in the Digital Single Market. At the ERA conference in Brussels legal practitioners  discussed the central issues of these highly controversial proposals at an early stage in the legislative process.

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