The never-ending modernisation of Belgian consumer protection legislation
Belgian transposition of the "Omnibus" Directive
The Belgian legislator seems to have made some serious resolutions for 2022. After a first go in March at modernising Belgian consumer protection laws (see our previous alert), yesterday Belgium adopted an act amending Books I, VI and XV of the Code of Economic Law (the “Belgian Act”), implementing Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of 27 November 2019 as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (the “Omnibus Directive”).
The Omnibus Directive follows the completion of the “Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law” conducted by the European Commission in 2016-2017, the results of which stressed, inter alia, the importance of better applying and enforcing the rules throughout the EU as well as modernising the same in line with developments in the digital sphere.
The Omnibus Directive amends several existing pieces of EU consumer protection legislation, namely:
- Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts;
- Directive 98/6/EC of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers;
- Directive 2005/29/EC of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market; and
- Directive 2011/83/EU of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights.
Yesterday, Belgium finally transposed the Omnibus Directive, which provides for a quasi-maximum harmonisation, leaving little room for Member States to manoeuvre. It thus comes as no surprise that the preparatory works to the Belgian Act indicate that the transposition provisions faithfully reflect the content of the Omnibus Directive.