The S&D Group is today criticising member states for putting industry interests before consumer rights as the Council threatens to block an agreement giving people the right to launch EU-wide class action lawsuits.
Member states are crossing a red line for the European Parliament in the negotiations by seeking to exclude air and passenger rights from the scope of the collective redress. The negotiations on the Collective Redress Directive between the Council and the European Parliament continue today.
Lara Wolters, S&D spokesperson on collective redress, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown what a headache it can be for people to receive compensation from big businesses, in particular from airlines or rail companies when consumers are faced with large scale cancellations or delays. That’s why the Council’s position to exclude air and rail passenger rights from the scope of the new collective redress law is simply not acceptable. The European Parliament will not accept putting industry interests before consumer rights, above all in times of crisis, when people are struggling to make ends meet and now need support more than ever.”
Tiemo Wölken, S&D spokesperson on legal affairs, said:
“If we want EU-wide collective redress to be effective it has to prevent all large scale abuses of consumer rights, and not exclude the very industries where unfair practices have been so blatant in recent weeks and months. The European Parliament is not in the business of depriving anyone of their rights and it is very frustrating that member states are taking this standpoint. The Council has to wake up to the facts of this pandemic: some of the biggest abuses have been towards passenger rights and we cannot deny people the right to join forces in class action when their rights are violated by airlines or rail companies. We are here to protect and strengthen consumer rights, not weaken them.”
Note to editors
The S&D Group has consistently supported and championed EU proposals that allow EU consumers to bring lawsuits collectively against large companies, in a process known as collective redress.
Scandals such as Dieselgate and Facebook/Cambridge Analytica, which affected millions of European consumers, demonstrated the pressing need to give EU citizens access to justice through EU-wide collective redress legislation.
In March 2019, the European Parliament agreed its negotiating position, making sure there was no exception in the new rules for air and rail passenger rights. In the negotiations with the European Parliament, the Council continues to support a review clause on air and rail passenger rights in the scope of the Collective Redress Directive. This would give the Commission the right to assess and propose withdrawing air and rail passenger rights from the scope of the legislation, 1 year after the entry into force of the directive.