Dieselgate and Facebook scandal show EU citizens need to be able to bring lawsuits collectively

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The S&D Group today welcomed a new package of proposals from the European Commission to strengthen consumer rights in Europe. In particular, the Group supports the proposals on collective redress, which would allow EU consumers to bring lawsuits collectively against large companies.
 
S&D spokesperson for legal affairs, Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann said:
 
 “We have been pushing for the European Commission to come forward with proposals to allow citizens to bring lawsuits collectively against companies in the European Union for a long time. The recent revelations about Facebook misusing customers’ data is an example where millions of people are affected but where they have no easy legal recourse.
 
“The proposals from the Commission are a step in the right direction. However, we regret that this proposal is limited to consumers. We see a need for all citizens to have easier access to justice, for example farmers affected by chemical spills or workers harmed by companies who do not respect health and safety regulations.”
 
S&D spokesperson for the internal market, Nicola Danti added:
 
“Following the Dieselgate scandal, VW were forced to pay large amounts of compensation to US consumers, while European consumers got nothing. When multinational companies act illegally, it is vital that all those affected are adequately compensated. We are glad the Commission has woken up to this and come forward with proposals to allow representative action at EU level. Our Group will push to make this compensation tool even more ambitious and effective, to ensure that these new proposals benefit consumers and not just law firms.
 
“Although collective redress is the main aspect of the consumer´s package, there are other important elements that need to be underlined. The proposition of new stricter penalties for companies who cause widespread infringements that affect consumers is also a good idea, as are proposals to make it easier for consumers to know whom they are buying from online. It is vital that customers have trust in the single market – these new proposals will held to build that trust.”