Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Croatian MEP Borzan Says End Put to Dual Product Quality

ZAGREB, April 17, 2019 - The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a law banning products of dual quality, and the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU had the key role in efforts to put an end to the sale of products of poorer quality in eastern European countries, said a Croatian member of the European Parliament, Social Democrat Biljana Borzan.

The European Parliament adopted by a majority vote the final agreement reached in March by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council to ban products of dual quality in the EU.

"Romania's EU Council Presidency had a crucial role in putting an end to the division between the EU's east and west because it put the item high on the agenda," Borzan, a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and a deputy member of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, told Hina.

Borzan said that the new law "primarily protects consumers in eastern countries, however, western consumers are not spared unfair business practices either."

Two years ago, Borzan and the Croatian Food Agency presented results of a product quality survey analysing the quality of the same products sold in Croatia and Germany.

The analysis revealed quality differences in more than half of product samples and that most of the analysed products were more expensive in Croatia.

It has been decided that the existing directive on unfair trading practices would be supplemented with a law banning dual product quality, and producers will be penalised for breaches with up to 4% of their annual sales.

Member-states will have one year from the entry into force of the directive to transpose it into their national law. A safeguard clause has been agreed to ensure that the effects of the directive are analysed in 2022 to determine if it functions in practice, Borzan said.

"If producers come up with innovative ways to bypass the law, we will have the opportunity to make the law more strict," said Borzan.

More news on the European Parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 25 January 2019

No More Second-Rate Products for Croatian Consumers

The committee on the internal market and consumer protection of the European Parliament has adopted a law prohibiting sales of apparently same products of different quality in the European Union. This was announced at a press conference by Croatian Member of European Parliament Biljana Borzan. The measure will help protect Croatian consumers, reports Večernji List on January 25, 2019.

“The official position of the European Parliament is that the different product quality in the east and west of the EU must be banned. This is the position to which we have arrived after years of persuasion and explaining! I am delighted with such good results of difficult negotiations. This process has lasted for five years. It is challenging to push a law that nobody wants to happen except you and some of the members from Eastern European countries,” said Borzan.

The committee has adopted the amendment to the so-called blacklist of the directive on unacceptable business practices and has explicitly banned different product quality.

“More than 80 percent of Croatia's citizens believe that large corporations treat us as second-rate citizens. These are the figures I got while doing the first research on product quality in our and German market, which I commissioned together with the Croatian Food Agency. This information meant I had to do something. The European Parliament has adopted the best possible position, despite the difficult negotiations. Now it is up to the Council do to its work, and our government has to play a major role in that,” said Borzan.

The directive stipulates that penalties for producers of double quality products will be up to four percent of their annual turnover. In parallel to the legislative process, the European product quality survey is being conducted, for which funds from the EU budget were also secured by Borzan.

“According to my information, the sample will soon be formed on the basis of the contributions of 19 member states. The first results will be known in a couple of months, and it is possible that the law may be passed before that. This makes the whole issue even more important since first fines are about to be announced,” concluded Borzan.

More news on the activities of Biljana Borzan in the European Parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Translated from Večernji List.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Guess Fined for Discriminating Consumers in Croatia, Other Countries

US fashion brand Guess is the first "victim" of the new EU geographic blocking regulation, which came into force at the beginning of the month. The European Commission has fined Guess with almost 40 million euros for discriminating consumers in Croatia and a number of new EU member states in its online store, reports Jutarnji List on December 19, 2018.

The Brussels investigation has shown that Guess had fragmented the EU single market by setting 5 to 10 percent higher prices for buyers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Simply put, if someone from the aforementioned new members of the European Union bought a Guess product over the internet, they automatically paid for it more than buyers from old EU members, according to the EU findings. The European Commission has assessed that this is improper business practice, which is the result of consumer discrimination on the basis of the geographical location. It is also considered to be an obstacle in the development of internet commerce and the single EU digital market. Therefore, Brussels has fined Guess with 39,821,000 euro. The penalty which was initially supposed to be issued has been cut in half because Guess was "cooperating," explained the European Commission.

"There are many illogicalities in online trading, and consumers are suffering. After Guess has been punished, we hope that it will be a warning to others,” said Biljana Borzan (SDP), a Croatian Member of the European Parliament. Similar examples abound in the package delivery business, which is closely related to online retail.

The EU now intends to prevent such practices because the Union wants to encourage the development of online retail trading, which grows at an annual rate of 22 percent. However, according to EC data, only 15 percent of Europeans buy online products from other EU member states, and one of the main reasons is geoblocking.

Ilija Rkman, the former president of the Croatian Consumer Protection Society, agrees with Borzan. “Our statistics show that our consumers mostly complain about material failures of products they have bought, as well as about their warranties. It is hard to believe that a new smartphone or a home appliance can break down so very soon after the purchase. This is an indicator of double standards for consumers in the old and new EU member states,” warned Rkman.

Because of all this, Rkman says that the consumer protection situation in Croatia is not as good as it should be. It has improved somewhat, but Croatia is still at the bottom of the EU. “Consumer protection should be a priority for the government. Today, it is considered a part of the protection of human rights,” Rkman said.

Borzan agrees that there is still much work to be done to strengthen consumer protection. “Our consumers complain less often than those from more developed countries, who fight for their rights,” concluded the Croatian MEP.

More news on the activities of Croatia’s MEP Biljana Borzan can be found in our Politics section.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Adriano Milovan).

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Croatia’s MEP Biljana Borzan Wins EU Oscar

ZAGREB, March 22, 2018 - Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Biljana Borzan of Croatia's Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Wednesday won the MEP Award or the so-called EU Oscar, which is given every year to the most successful members of the European Parliament in 18 categories. For each of the 18 categories three MEPs were shortlisted.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Croatia’s MEP Secures 800,000 Euro to Investigate Consumer Products Quality

ZAGREB, March 5, 2018 - Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan (SDP) on Monday said that she had secured additional 800,000 euro from the EU budget to test the different quality of same brand products on EU markets, which should serve as the basis to amend the law on labelling products and unfair trade practices in the EU.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Croatian MEP Warns about Vast Quantities of Food Being Thrown Out

ZAGREB, February 16, 2018 - The European Commission has published a large study on the impact of “use by date” labels on food waste in the EU, which amounts to about 90 million tonnes a year, with 10% of that quantity being thrown out because of the use by date, Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan's Osijek-based office said in a press release on Friday.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Croatian MEP Nominated for European Parliament Award

ZAGREB, January 31, 2018 - Croatian Member of the European Parliament Biljana Borzan of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is the only Croatian woman MEP to have been shortlisted for the prestigious MEP Award, also called the EU Oscar, which is conferred on the best European parliamentarians in different categories, Borzan's office said on Wednesday.

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