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The unification of European contract law in the field of sale as an instrument for the effective realization of the internal market in the commercial distribution sector

Commercial distribution

Senior Researcher : Ignacio Fernández Chacón

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad de Oviedo.


In accordance with the specific objectives determined previously in the research memorandum, I have concluded in the course of the research carried out that:

- The European Union has no general legal basis in the area of contractual harmonization and can only adopt measures that contribute to improving the functioning of the European internal market. Because of this, each of the approved harmonization rules must demonstrate the improvement in the functioning of the internal market through impact assessments, without prejudice to the general identification of contractual disparity as an obstacle to cross-border trade in the EU, as shown in the REFIT Fitness Check of Consumer and Marketing Law and of the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive published by the European Commission in 2017.

- The model of contractual harmonization adopted until now has been in almost all cases a minimum harmonization model, based on the adoption of Directives which must be transposed in the different Member States. This model is insufficient for the achievement of a uniform European contract law that results in an effective improvement of the functioning of the internal market, since it does not eliminate the regulatory disparities between the EU States. 

- Some of the most important recently approved directives on contractual matters, such as the Digital Content Directive 2019/770 and Directive 2019/771 on sales contracts, continue to opt for the minimum harmonization model, so that many of the provisions and aspects regulated in them are susceptible to being regulated in disparate terms by the different Member States. Therefore, after the deadline for the transposition of both Directives, the legislative framework will continue to be equally diverse, without any improvement in the functioning of the internal market or in the reduction of the transaction costs incurred by companies.


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Communications at international conferences 1


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