Tuesday, 20.05.14 , written by Anja Schlicht On May 25th is European election. But there is little interest in European politics in Germany. At the last election in 2009 not even one in two citizens has voted. The EU Parliament has recently passed many laws that benefit consumers. However, the Best of EU laws show that some controversial guidelines have been adopted. >
EU Parliament will be re-elected on Sunday
On Sunday, millions of Germans are called to vote for a new European Parliament. But many citizens are asking themselves: what do I care about the EU? Already at the last European elections five years ago, more than half of the citizens of the polling booth stayed away. In doing so, the European Parliament advocates many important laws that benefit consumer protection and thus people directly. These include resolutions on checking accounts for all, more protection for real estate loans , greater security in online shopping and improved transparency in insurance products. For consumers, however, the Solvency II regulations and the proposed financial transaction tax could have a negative impact. The following Best of shows what the EU has done in the past and why it pays to go to the European elections on 25 May.
Checking account for everyone
From 2016, all EU citizens should be entitled to open a current account without a permanent residence. While the vast majority of Germans have a checking account, there are around 58 million people in the EU who have to manage without the account. With the bank account online transfers should be possible as well as withdraw the money at ATMs and Europe-wide transfers. After the implementation of the regulation, Germany has for the first time a legal claim to the “current account for everyone”.
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More rights for package travelers
With another law, the European Parliament wants to strengthen the rights of consumers in package holidays. A corresponding bill has already been adopted at first reading. From 2016, for example, organizers will have to cover the costs for a maximum of five nights if the trip home is not possible due to “unavoidable, exceptional circumstances”. If a flight is delayed by more than three hours, travelers may be entitled to reimbursement or a similar package holiday, according to the EU Parliament’s plan.
More protection when shopping online
Some parts of the EU Consumer Rights Directive have already been implemented in Germany. So online shops have for some time a button with the label “order to pay” integrate. As of June 13, 2014, the policy is now fully effective. As a result, further changes are coming to online retailers and consumers. The 14-day withdrawal period will soon apply throughout Europe. By contrast, the new regulations for returns and returns on revocation are less pleasing. The return costs will no longer have to be paid by the seller in the future.
Editor’s tip: Which party suits me?
25 parties are available. Anyone who does not yet know which party is most likely to defend their own interests at the European level can find this out with the Wahl-O-Mat.
EU Parliament advocates more insured and patient rights
Thanks to the European Parliament, patient rights have improved across Europe. Patients can now seek treatment abroad at any time. Health insurance – legal or private – will cover the costs that treatment would cause domestically. The EU is also working hard on improving consumer protection in the insurance sector. Who concludes a capital-forming life insurance, should be informed in the future with a uniform information sheet on risks and costs. The same applies to financial products. But here is still a final decision. The Federal Government has already introduced such an information sheet for Riester products.
More education in real estate loans
With new rights in the conclusion of a real estate loan, the EU wants to ensure that lending in the future with more responsibility on the part of providers. It is anticipated that from April 2015, lenders will need to provide detailed information on risks and costs, especially the future interest and principal, before the loan is finalized. If a customer can no longer pay the installments, the bank should find a customer-friendly solution to avoid a high debt mountain. In addition, every borrower gets a guaranteed right of withdrawal.
Way free for banking union
In the wake of the banking and financial crisis, the European Parliament has come to terms after a long struggle for a banking union. If a bank goes bankrupt, then from 2016, mainly creditors and owners for the rescue to jump in financially. Savers who have less than € 100,000 in their account will not be charged. “The aim of the regulations is to limit the liability of customers and taxpayers and thus to reduce disincentives in the banking sector,” said the Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband.
Info box: Central tasks of the European Parliament
The European Parliament has three central tasks: to adopt EU legislation, to control other EU institutions such as the European Commission, to adopt the EU budget.
Financial transaction tax decided
Not every regulation shared by the European Parliament has a positive impact on consumers. For example, a tax of between 0.1 and 0.01 percentage points on the sale or purchase of financial products such as shares, fixed-income securities and foreign exchange should be levied in 2016. Although this financial transaction tax flushes additional money into the household budget, it can put a more financial burden on investors and also on customers of old-age provision. Although the European Parliament does not have codecision rights according to the ARD. But the parliament had expressed its agreement in December 2012 so that the EU Commission could take appropriate action.
New regulations for the insurance industry
The same applies to the Solvency II regulations. Here, the directive was drafted by the EU Commission, which was adopted by the European Parliament. This happened in 2009. Only in 2016 should the rules be implemented. A key element of the law, in simple terms, is that providers have to provide more capital for certain investments. In addition, they have to raise several billion euros. Critics fear that this could lead to higher contributions or lower payouts for insured persons. However, it remains to be seen what negative consequences the new regulations will have.
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