HC Deb 19 April 2000 vol 348 cc545-6W
Mr. Hood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the outcome of the Consumer Affairs Council held in Luxembourg on 13 April; and if he will make a statement. [119587]

Dr. Howells

The Council adopted a Resolution to establish a Community-wide network for settlement of consumer disputes. This European extra-judicial network will be known as EEJ-Net.

The Commission presented its strategy paper for boosting consumer confidence in e-commerce through encouragement of business best practice (in particular the development of codes of practice), effective out of court dispute settlement (EEJ-Net) and guaranteed access to legal redress through the courts in the consumer's own member state.

An orientation debate was held on the Commission's proposals for a European Food Safety Agency following last year's Food Safety White Paper; the Commission is now considering delegates' comments with a view to presenting formal proposals in September/October.

The Commission presented reports on the implementation and enforcement of both the Timeshare and Package Travel Directives and on progress in the negotiations for a Directive on the Distance Marketing of Financial Services.

The Presidency described plans for a forthcoming conference on globalisation, regulation and self-regulation. Denmark presented ideas for a new strategy to strengthen consumer policy in the EU.