If the EU adopts regulations for the protection of credit users, Serbia must apply them as well

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The EU institutions, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, will soon consider the European Commission’s proposal to revise EU rules to protect consumer rights, both from dangerous products that appeared in the digital field during the pandemic and when taking consumer loans.
– We are strengthening consumer protection on two fronts, making it easier for them to avoid credit-related risks and setting even stronger rules on product safety – said the Vice President of the Commission, Vera Jurova.
The Commission emphasizes that digitalization, which was accelerated by the pandemic, leads to an increase in online shopping and significantly changes the financial sector. She adds that during 2020, about 71 percent of consumers made their purchases online.
The revision of the EU Consumer Credit Directive stipulates that credit information must be presented in a clear way, adapted to digital devices, so that consumers understand what they are applying for.
The directive should improve the rules by which creditworthiness is assessed, ie whether the consumer will be able to repay the loan or not, and the EC explains that they want to avoid the issue of over-indebtedness.
The regulation will require Member States to promote financial education and ensure that debt advice is available to consumers.
In order for the new rules to enter into force, both the European Parliament and the EU Council must decide on them.
If the EU adopts regulations for the protection of credit users, Serbia must apply them as well.
If the legal system of the European Union adopts the proposals of regulations related to the protection of credit users and product safety on the market, Serbia will also have to apply those regulations, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications told Tanjug today.
Assistant Minister in the Consumer Protection Sector of the Ministry of Trade, Visnja Rakic, said on the occasion that the European Parliament accepted to consider the adoption of new regulations in these areas that if they are incorporated into the EU legal system, “implementation of adopted directives and implementation through regulations of Serbia’s international obligation was taken over by signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU.”
Proposals related to consumer protection and product safety have yet to be considered, the procedure is quite complex, which is why it usually takes time, but when it is completed, the adopted solutions will be binding for our country as well, she explained.
Judging by what is now stated in the proposals, this would mean that the users of bank loans would be much better and clearer acquainted with all the information about the loan.
The proposals go so far that one of the proposals of the European Commission is that the states educate the citizens financially and that they even have access to counseling centers where they would receive information and advice on borrowing.
Among the goals to be achieved by the new regulations are to limit the fees that clients pay, as well as interest rates.
Explaining how the issue of protection of certain groups of consumers is now regulated in our country, Assistant Minister Visnja Rakic states that the Law on Consumer Protection prescribes that the provisions of a special law apply to the issue of protection of users of financial services and participants in the capital market.
Thus, one of the basic legal sources in loan agreements is the Law on Obligations, while the Law on Users of Financial Services regulates the rights of these users provided by banks, financial leasing providers and merchants, as well as the conditions and manner of exercising and protecting these rights.
“Having in mind that one of the basic rights of users of financial services, as well as the rights of consumers, is the right to information, we believe that the adoption of stricter regulations and greater responsibility of all market participants would be a step towards their additional protection. I see that one of the accents in the proposal of the directives would be that they be clearly informed about all the information about the loan that they need to make a rational decision,” states Rakic.
Citizen safety comes first
She points out that special attention must be paid to the need for greater protection of citizens in the new changed circumstances of digitalization and the pandemic.
When it comes to consumer safety, she states that it is primarily regulated by the Law on General Product Safety, which was adopted with the aim of ensuring the protection of health and safety of consumers and other users of products, regardless of whether they are used for personal needs or professional activities.
Therefore, she points out, there is an obligation to place exclusively safe products on the market and the production, import and placing on the market of deceptive products, as well as the export of such products, is prohibited.
– The Law on General Product Safety transposes into Serbian law the provisions of Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety. We must mention that, considering Serbia’s commitment to EU membership and its obligations in accordance with the Stabilization and Association Agreement, an important aspect of work in all areas refers to the harmonization of regulations with the relevant EU acquis – Rakic emphasizes.
She adds that the program for the adoption of the acquis communautaire is built in such a way as to connect European legislation and the domestic legal order in order to monitor the pace, scope and quality of that harmonization at all times, Kamatica reports.