Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-09-20-Speech-3-163"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, could I first underline the fact that Mrs Wallis has spared no effort in submitting this report for discussion. The report, as it was approved within the committee, is in my view a fine example of a document which has struck a fine balance between the interests of all parties, both small- and medium-sized businesses and consumers. It would be regrettable if this balance were to be disturbed by tomorrow’s vote, besides which, it is highly unlikely in my view that the Council would be able to agree on the tabled amendments. Allow me to explain why. The terminology, as it is currently before us, is clear. We talk about ‘contracts concluded at a distance’, terminology which, even to a lay person, is far more transparent than ‘directed activities’, as is currently used in the amendment. Let me illustrate this with an example. If a French winegrower recommends his crémant in French, a French consumer may well enjoy protection under the Brussels convention, because the winegrower’s ‘activities’ are ‘purposely directed in a substantial way’, but the English, Belgian or Italian consumer will not enjoy this protection because the activities were not purposely directed in a substantial way to those consumers. This creates considerable legal uncertainty and will lead to various procedures having to be thrashed out before the courts where each case will need to be examined individually to establish whether the activities were purposely directed or not. Secondly, it is crucial in my opinion that the report offers parties themselves the opportunity of building a competence clause into their contracts. Contractual freedom is a fundamental principle. If we deny a party contractual freedom and, with it, the constitutional right to go to court, I can foresee various procedures needing to be instituted on account of denial of justice. In my view, the Brussels convention is of major strategic importance for the development of e-commerce within the internal market and it will also have a major impact on the success or failure of small- and medium-sized businesses. I therefore hope that this report, as approved in the committee, will be adopted in its unamended form in the plenary tomorrow."@en1

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