Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Directive
My apologies to those of a literary bent and my misuse of the quote "Cometh the hour, cometh the man"- which for those of you remotely interested is attributed to Mark Twain but there is some doubt about whether he said it.
The reason it came into my head was as a result of the series of Council meetings and the RDO Board last month. Most of the time in the Legislative Council meeting in January was, not unnaturally, taken up with detailed discussion of the implementation of the 2nd Timeshare Directive in the 27 EU Member States, the stages reached in some of those countries and the interpretation being put by some governments on various provisions in the directive.
As most of you will know already, France and Germany were well ahead of the game and the front runners on implementation and the directive was very closely followed in both countries. The 2nd wave looks set to be the UK on the due date, that is the 23rd February, with Finland not far behind and Portugal expected to follow on. The UK has gone further than some of the other Member States in imposing criminal penalties for various documentary omissions and the Portuguese draft when it first came out, required some quick action on RDO’s part to get the message across to the government that they had applied certain provisions across the market that were applicable in fact to holiday clubs. The day was however saved after some lat minute work over a Portuguese bank holiday by our Portuguese consultant supported by various members, and the legislation was duly brought back on track.
Currently the big question is what will happen in Spain with regard to implementation? You will all recall that on the implementation of the First Directive, Spain went a lot further in the provisions it inserted into its domestic legislation and Maria Rodriguez, Francisco Lizarza and the rest of the Spanish Chapter are following developments closely and have submitted various suggestions and possible amendments that the government has found useful – meetings are on-going on this and the next few weeks are likely to be critical in the process.
With input from the lawyers on the Legislative Council, chaired by Eugene Miskelly, RDO has in the last 10 days issued Guidelines on the implementation of the UK Directive and further guidance will, where possible, be added for different countries as the months go by and the interpretation of different provisions becomes clearer.
I think it’s at times like this that RDO is at its best with members and the Secretariat pooling their expertise and working hard to get information out that will benefit the membership as a whole and give those who are currently struggling with its provisions, some guidance as to what is required.
We still have a long way to go, 23 or so member states for a start! No doubt in due course Trading Standards in the UK will have some views on certain aspects and likewise some of the EU consumer organisations will want to add their points. We will be watching closely and with a number of long-term projects on the Consumer front slowly moving through the EU Institutions there is plenty to watch out for – and we’ve started planning for RDO 2 in Marbella in September!
Never a dull moment.