The Rome I Convention sets out which law is applicable in disputes arising from international contracts. The Convention is not an EU law, although all the signatories to it are EU member states. Now the European Commission wants to bring it into its own legislation and revise it considerably. On Tuesday it held a hearing on its plans, during which the business community argued forcibly for the maintenance of the status quo. Representatives from business organisations pointed out that “the Convention has worked perfectly well for over 20 years, and changing it unnecessarily would make cross border trade more difficult, and be contrary to the concept of a ‘Single European Market'”.
FEDMA is particularly concerned at the Commissions plan to introduce the country of destination principle to the Convention for contracts, which would mean that for business to consumer contracts companies would have to apply the law of the country of the consumer. According to FEDMA , this would hamper cross border trade in general, and e-commerce in particular.
Speaking after the hearing, FEDMAs director of government affairs, Axel Tandberg , said the issue of applicable law in the case of consumer contracts is tricky. However, during the last 20 years business has become accustomed to and learnt to approve the existing Rome I Convention, something that was clearly shown during the debate. In the end the Commission was forced to agree to continue the discussions at a later stage.