But its suggestion that member states should be barred from introducing tougher laws at home than those agreed at Union level is set to spark angry protests from consumer groups and those governments which favour giving customers stronger protection.The Commission has been battling to persuade member states to adopt new rules on ‘distance selling’ for more than two years. Under its latest proposal, due to be unveiled by Internal Market Commissioner Mario Monti and his consumer affairs counterpart Emma Bonino on 14 October, an earlier clause which would have allowed individual member states to go beyond the terms of any EU legislation has been dropped.While this will be welcomed by those member states who fear that allowing others to provide stronger protection would distort the single market, others are likely to continue fighting for the right to set tougher national laws. “We have a general policy concerning all consumer protection issues that there should be a minimum harmonisation and member states should be allowed to introduce more stringent provisions,” said one Swedish diplomat.Other countries say that while the new proposal is not as strong as they would like, they would welcome any progress in the long-drawn out campaign for EU rules.“We are all very interested in getting a directive on this issue,” said a Danish diplomat. “We just hope to have an agreement on this. It is better than nothing. Of course, it will have to be a little watered down, but that’s not the same thing as saying it’s a bad proposal.”A spokeswoman for Monti said this week that allowing member states to go it alone would violate single market principles and insisted that the latest proposal would ensure adequate consumer protection. “The new version will ensure a high level of protection for everybody under Community law,” she said.However, some in the industry argue that the planned new rules would be costly to implement and maintain EU-wide legislation is not necessary.
Ryan Babel’s first international brace helped the Netherlands ease to a 4-0 victory over Estonia in Tallinn on Monday which boosted their Euro 2020 qualifying hopes. Ronald Koeman’s men sit third in Group C, albeit with a game in hand, three points adrift of leaders Germany and second-placed Northern Ireland after the visitors won 2-0 in the meeting of the top two in Belfast. “Before the match we realised that if we didn’t get the focus right from the beginning it could be a difficult evening,” the 32-year-old Babel told NOS TV. “It was great to score the first two goals — I’m a player who runs on confidence. “I’m no longer one of the younger players in the team, so I try to compensate for the loss of speed by using my experience.” Memphis Depay starred on his 50th Netherlands appearance with a goal and two assists, while Georginio Wijnaldum scored for the second time in four days after also netting in Friday’s 4-2 triumph over the Germans in Hamburg. The Netherlands, Euro 1988 winners, are attempting to return to Europe’s top table after missing out on qualification for Euro 2016 and last year’s World Cup. Buoyed by their stunning win in Germany, the Dutch wasted little time in getting on the front foot, with Virgil van Dijk stepping into midfield and drilling a long-range strike narrowly wide in only the third minute. The visitors grabbed the lead 14 minutes later as Babel met left-back Daley Blind’s low ball to slot home his ninth international goal and first since netting exactly a year ago in the Nations League against France. Galatasaray forward Babel, on his 60th Netherlands appearance, secured his first international double less than three minutes into the second half by nodding home Depay’s deep cross at the back post. Lyon winger Depay scored his 17th Netherlands goal to wrap up the three points with 14 minutes to play, firing a left-footed strike into the bottom corner following a neat turn on the edge of the box. Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum rounded off an excellent day for the away side in the 87th minute, climbing highest to nod in Depay’s free-kick. “We played better in the second half, switching the ball from flank to flank and creating more chances with, ultimately, more goals as a result,” said captain Van Dijk. The Netherlands next host Northern Ireland in a crucial game on October 10, before visiting Belarus three days later. Catch up on all the latest sports news and updates here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates