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American-style litigation – get it here in Europe! Will Commission ignore both industry & MEPs protests?


02 Oct 2009


Trade & Society

On the eve of her departure as EU Competition Commissioner, Mrs Neelie Kroes is apparently pushing to commit her successor and the entire future EU Commission into setting up a legal framework that will use litigation as the privileged mechanism of collective redress. Commented Orgalime Director General, Adrian Harris: “We are deeply concerned that the Commission is even considering introducing such a measure which is so alien to our legal traditions and not, as far as we can see, supported either by politicians or by industry. Quite the contrary. We are therefore particularly surprised that the Commission should be thinking of taking such steps at a time when we believe regulators should be aiming at stabilising the regulatory and legal framework so as to reassure and attract investment in Europe to help to get the economy moving again.”

The proposal for the Directive is on the agenda of a Commission meeting next week and it is understood that it is likely to be adopted. Orgalime, the European engineering industries association and the engineering companies it represents, are both worried and upset about the Commission policy of working on an issue which is so fundamental and will have a major impact on the regulatory framework for companies thoughout the EU 27.

It’s not only industry that appears to be being ignored; a number of MEPs and national ministers have been vigourously protesting for several months against Mrs Kroes’ proposals. “The Commission should be aware that European SMEs in particular would be vulnerable to threatening actions and may not have the capacity to cope with such forms of damages actions; this certainly is not an example of Better Regulation” concluded Harris.



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