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European Contract Law

On 8th June 2011 the European Parliament adopted a Report on “Policy Options for Progress towards a European Contract Law for Consumers and Businesses”.

According to the Report, the European Parliament holds the opinion that a common European Contract Law would benefit consumers and, in particular, contribute to more and easily accessible cross-border trade within the internal EU-market. It acknowledges the need for further progress in the area of Contract law and favours the option of setting up an optional instrument by means of a Regulation. Regarding the scope of such an optional instrument, it was adopted that it should include both business-consumer and business-business transactions and should be free to choose or not the optional instrument as an alternative to National or International Law. The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to clarify the relationship of an optional instrument with other European Regulations and International Conventions, including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG/Vienna Convention).

It is important to note that the European Parliament stresses in its Report that existing branch practices and the principle of contractual freedom have to be preserved regarding business-business contracts.

The IUCAB Legal Working Group will continue to monitor the developments in this area and submit opinions to the European Commission in order to achieve that business relations between commercial agents and manufacturers established in the European Union are not affected negatively from a legal perspective.

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