Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-200"

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". − Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentleman, the Draft Common Frame of Reference (DCFR) has brought the work on European civil law to a head, at least for the moment. It is, of course, a draft produced by legal scholars which has yet to be debated politically. The goal of this debate, then, is to try and get a broad policy discussion going on the future of European private law. The European Parliament wants to achieve a situation in which all stakeholders are involved in this debate but, in order for that to happen, we have to make sure that the academic draft, which is currently only available in English, is produced in other official languages as well. Commissioner, the funds earmarked for translation have not been used up for 2008 yet. We need these translations if there is to be a proper Europe-wide dialogue on the future of European civil law. It is not enough just to get the forthcoming Commission document translated, although obviously that has to be done. The Commission has started a selection process internally, trying to sift through the rules of the academic frame of reference and picking up what needs to be included in the Commission text. We welcome the fact that all the relevant Directorates-General are involved in this selection process. However, I would stress that the ‘European contract law’ project should really be led by DG Justice and Home Affairs because the reference framework is not just about consumer contract law; it is also intended to make it easier for SMEs to shape their cross-border contracts with other business partners who are not consumers. Precisely because the Common Frame of Reference (CFR) needs to take account of the SME sector as well, over recent months the Commission has been holding workshops on selected problem areas in the business-to-business (B2B) arena, and the outcomes of these workshops need to be taken into account in the forthcoming Commission text as well. In the resolution, we also say that the final version of the academic frame of reference could play a toolbox role; indeed, it has already done so, in effect, simply by virtue of its publication. The Community legislator will have to make sure that, in future, legal acts in the field of Community private law are based on the CFR. The CFR can, at a subsequent stage, be turned into an optional instrument; the parties would then be able to choose an alternative system of civil law to govern their legal relationships. That is a step that will need to be taken in order to solve problems that are quite clearly still with us in the sphere of the internal market. In order to give a boost to legal transactions in the internal market, an optional instrument will, however, have to go beyond general contractual law. For example, besides rules governing the conclusion of sales contracts, there will have to be rules on transfer of property and on the rescinding of asset transfers which have no sound legal basis: in other words, the law of obligations. Parliament is particularly keen to ensure that it is consulted and involved on an ongoing basis by the Commission throughout the selection process. We will undoubtedly have to consider how, in future, the significance of this project can be enhanced, especially in the Committee on Legal Affairs. The Commission needs to start considering now, though, what sort of mechanisms we need in order to ensure that the new Commission document can take account of future developments. In the current selection process, the Commission must already start to consider, in its planning, the changes that will feature in the definitive version of the academic frame of reference. All this shows that this CFR is taking us into new territory in European contract law. The European Parliament, the Commission and the Council need to make a clear commitment to this project, which is likely to be the most important initiative for the next parliamentary term. It is a project which offers benefits for everyone: consumers, because they will soon be able to go shopping all round Europe with the backing of European contract law, and companies, because with this greater legal certainty, they will be able to tap into new markets, and as there will be a uniform set of rules, they will be able to achieve substantial cost savings."@en1

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