Consumer protection includes areas of economic interests of consumers and products safety. Public health contains: communicable diseases, tobacco control, blood, organs, tissues and cells (SoHO legislation), mental health, feeding, health inequalities, e-health.
When was the chapter opened?
Chapter 28 – Consumer and health protection was opened on 16 December 2014.
Under this chapter, Montenegro has three closing benchmark: one for consumer protection and two for public health protection:
1. Montenegro amends the Law on General Product Safety and the Law on Consumer Protection in order to further align its legislation in the field of consumer protection, particularly with Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights, and demonstrates that adequate administrative structures and enforcement capacity will be in place to implement the legislation correctly by the time of accession.
2. Montenegro demonstrates alignment with the EU communicable diseases acquis, and ensures that adequate institutional, technical and administrative capacity will be in place by the time of accession to implement it and to fulfil EU reporting and coordination obligations to deal with serious cross-border threats to health.
3. Montenegro adopts legislation aligning with the acquis on substances of human origin, especially with regard to organs, reproductive cells and reporting of serious adverse events and reactions. Montenegro demonstrates that it will have the adequate administrative capacity to properly implement and enforce the legislation in the area of blood, tissues, cells and organs by the time of accession.
What are the activities in the coming period?
Significant part of obligations in closing benchmarks has been fulfilled. However, in accordance with negotiation documents and in order to fill the European Commission recommendation, in forthcoming period, Montenegro needs to align its legislation on consumer protection (adoption of Law on consumer credits and Law on tourism and hospitality) and to fully align in the area of SoHO, as well as to continuously strength the enforcement capacities.
Institutions/organizations participating in the negotiation group?
In the working group for negotiation chapter 28 are included following institutions: European Integration Office, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Sustainable development and tourism, Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Public Administration, Central Bank of Montenegro, Administration for Inspection Affairs, Public Health Institution, Health Insurance Fund, Insurance Supervision Fund, Agency for electronic communication and postal services, Agency for electronic media, Regulatory Energy Agency, Montenegro Employer Federation, Confederation of Trade Unions, Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, University of Montenegro, Union of Municipalities, NGO ‘’Center for Consumer Protection – CEZAP’’, NVO ‘’PRONA-Foundation for science promoting’’, NGO ‘’Center for civic education’’ and NGO ‘’Juventas’’ .
What are the benefits from this chapter for Montenegro?
Safer consumer – By enforcement of the European standards for consumer protection, it will be ensured that Montenegrin citizens enjoy equal rights as the European consumers do. That, as result, has a higher level of safety products at the market and, consequently better protection of psychical and mental health of consumers, protection during buying products and services at the market. High standards for consumer protection will contribute to the higher confidence of consumer to traders and market, strength their role in the market arena and ensure bigger care for consumer interest, which, in the end, contributes to the life quality in general. With this, consumer becomes indirect regulator of economy development and influences to the business policy of traders, stimulates competition and ensures competitive environment at the market.
Health-safety surveillance of the market – Within the EU, there is a Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products (RAPEX), symbolically named as ʺSafety Gateʺ. It serves to raise level of general products safety in the way to prevent the sale or to withdraw each product that poses a risk for health and safety of consumers from the market. By the day of accession, Montenegro cannot use this system, but it has developed its own national system for rapid exchange of information, which is compatible with the EU RAPEX which operates since 2011 and serves that responsible authorities and consumers may seat one place what products are and why they have been classified as dangerous and act.
Out-of-court resolution of disputes – Development of system for out-of-court resolution of disputes ensures that consumer can resolve dispute with trader faster, cheaper and more efficient, which represents benefit for trader as well. In the other hand, this method of resolving of consumers disputes disburdens courts and enables higher efficiency of the judicial.
Communicable diseases – Montenegro established cooperation with the Institution for public health – Robert Koch from Berlin with the goal to improve surveillance of communicable disease and rapid exchange epidemiological information between hygiene-epidemiological services in primary health care institutions and Public Health Institution of Montenegro. The result of cooperation is regularly two-week epidemiological teleconference EpiTel on which are being summarized epidemiological situation in country and region and, in the same time, makes plans of common activities in the area of suppression of communicable disease and cross border public-health treatments for next period.
Smoking – By banding of smoking in public indoor premises, it is being achieving better protection of non-smokers from passive smoking and protection of environment from tobacco smoke as one of main risk factor for developing of chronically non-communicable diseases.
Early detection of cancer –With introducing tests for early detection of breast cancer, colon cancer and cervical cancer and promptly intervention with appropriate treatment methods premature cancer deaths are being prevented and lives are saved. In Montenegro, preventive examinations (screening) for early detection of breast, colon and cervical cancer have been implemented since 2011.