EU commissioner calls for better enforcement of consumer protection law

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The EU's Consumer Policy Commissioner has criticised EU governments for failing to implement laws on consumer protection and the internal market.

Speaking at a debate with various EU and EEA ministers in Brussels on 18 March 2013, Tonio Borg said the EU's internal market was "only as strong as its weakest link", saying that if laws were badly implemented in one country, "the ripples are felt across the EU".

Mr Borg promoted the use of the EU's Consumer Scoreboard where countries are marked on policies including product safety, ease of cross-border shopping, role of national consumer protection authorities, and ease of redress.

The most recent scoreboard found that the best conditions for consumers were in Luxembourg, the UK, Denmark and Austria.

Mr Borg said the scoreboard should be viewed as a "name and praise" procedure, rather than "name and shame".

He said it was "stupid" for the EU to pass consumer protection laws which are then not enforced, or enforced unevenly.

But the State Secretary to Norway's Social Inclusion Minister, Kjetil Andreas Ostling, warned that violation of EU laws was "not always a sign of bad will".

He said that EU legislators had not always made themselves popular with the volume of legislation that was passed, and said EU laws needed to be made clearer and simpler.

Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), meaning that it is part of the single market, and must therefore apply by single market rules.

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