EEJ-Net - Background

For several years now the European Commission is working on increasing consumers’ access to justice. The objective of the European Extra-Judicial Network (EEJ-Net) is to facilitate the access to an out-of-court settlement for cross border disputes in order to avoid lengthy, expensive and complex court procedures. The EEJ-Net provides simple, low-cost and effective means of resolving cross-border disputes when the consumer and the supplier come from different European Member States.

"The Commission sees the EEJ-Net as a priority. It is an essential component of a number of initiatives aimed a creating confidence for consumers to actively take part and benefit from the Internal Market. It is also important for business as it will facilitate greater cross-border trade, especially for SME’s. It will put the practical framework in place to allow the potential of ADR for resolving cross border disputes to be fully exploited.” so David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, on the occasion of the launch of the pilot phase of the EEJ-Net in Brussels, 16 October 2001.

Major Phases:

With the “Recommendation on the principles applicable to the bodies responsible for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes” (98/257/CE) the Commission puts in place the first rules for an EEJ-Net framework.

5./6. May 2000
Starting signal for the EEJ-Net in Lisbon: The Lisbon Conference “Towards a European Extra-Judicial Network for resolving consumer disputes (EEJ-Net)” brought together the EU member states to discuss and develop the practical arrangements for the EEJ-Net to function efficiently and effectively.

Commission Recommendation of 4 April 2001 on the principles for out-of-court bodies involved in the consensual resolution of consumer disputes (2001/310/CE).

16 October 2001
The launch of the pilot phase of the European Extra-Judicial Network in Brussels on 16 October 2001 “provides a solid block for building confidence by giving consumers access to simple, low cost and effective means of resolving cross border conflicts so David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

01 January 2002
After the German Federal Ministry of Justice nominated Euro-Info-Consumers as national contact point, the German Clearing House entered in activity on January 1st, 2002. Since then the German Clearing House provides information and assistance in accessing existing ADR-systems.

22 January 2004
As per a decision of the French State Secretary Mr. Renaud Dutreil dated January 22, 2004 the mission for the French Clearing House has also been committed to Euro-Info-Consumers.
This is the first time a single structure, Euro-Info-Consumers, unites several national missions with European vocation. Indeed henceforth, the German and the French Clearing House will be able to reinforce the synergies of their two countries in the area of consumer protection.