EU reopens debate on class action lawsuits

BRUSSELS, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The European Commission reopened on Friday a consultation on a controversial plan to help consumers and businesses take legal action and get compensation for harm suffered from illegal business practices. Interested parties have until the end of April to present their views. European Union countries allow victims of anticompetitive practices to launch class action lawsuits. However, national frameworks are marked by different levels of effectiveness and scope. Class action suits are rare in Europe. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia’s predecessor, Neelie Kroes, attempted to set out rules two years ago but backed down after criticism from companies and lawmakers worried about U.S.-style lawsuits. Proponents of an EU-wide approach said this could boost consumer confidence in the single market.

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