European Parliament calls for Commission to assess the need to protect consumers in the sharing economy

Written on 22 Jan 2016

On Tuesday 19 January 2016 the European Parliament voted for a resolution urging the European Commission to assess the need to protect consumers in the sharing economy (see press release here). Members of the European Parliament voting for the resolution expressed concern that to date EU Member States have adopted differing approaches to regulating the internet and sharing economy and this has created disparity in relation to the policing of the new emerging business models for selling goods and services online.

The resolution calls on the Commission to make an assessment of the need to protect consumers who are engaging in this sharing economy and to help provide a clear set of consumer-related rules which would apply to all businesses operating within the digital sphere.

Tuesday’s resolution will feed into the 16 digital single market initiatives announced by the European Commission in May 2015 which are aimed at boosting the digital economy and innovation. The European Parliament has also called on the Commission to make proposals to:

  • end unjustified geo-blocking practices, so as to improve EU consumers’ access to goods and services. MEPs welcome the proposal on cross-border portability of online content services “as a first step” in this direction; (read more here)
  • ensure equivalent and future-proof consumer protection, regardless of whether digital content is purchased online or offline; 
  • find innovative solutions on cross-border parcel delivery to improve services and lower costs; (read more here)
  • remove barriers to SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups and seize the opportunities based on new ICT technologies, such as Big Data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things or 3D-printing; an innovation-friendly policy towards online platforms (e.g. search engines, app stores) that facilitates market entry should be maintained; and
  • review the ePrivacy directive to ensure consistency of its provisions with the new EU data protection rules. Insert link to GDPR article from immediately before Christmas

Osborne Clarke’s experts will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the Digital Single Market initiative on our dedicated hub here.