BEUC applauds EU infringement proceedings against countries still breaking rules on travel reimbursements
PRESS RELEASE - 02.07.2020
BEUC applauds the European Commission’s decision to launch infringement proceedings today against ten countries (Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia), for breaching EU law on reimbursement for cancelled travel due to Covid-19.
Despite previous warnings from the Commission, numerous EU countries have introduced and continue to apply emergency measures, suspending travellers’ rights to a monetary refund and instead forcing them to accept vouchers.
Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, commented: “The European Commission launching infringement proceedings against EU countries that are still not complying with EU legislation on travellers’ rights is good news. In several Member States, consumers have been forced to accept vouchers for cancelled travel, instead of also having the option of a refund. This is unacceptable: consumers should not be used as cheap credit to bail out the travel industry.
“However, these proceedings only apply to countries which still have such non-EU compliant emergency measures in place. Whilst we very much welcome this as an important signal, countries which have already ended these non-compliant measures are not affected.
“All consumers across the EU who have been forced to accept vouchers during the application of such national temporary COVID-19 measures should have the right to a full monetary refund if they choose. It is now in the hands of governments to ensure that people who need it get reimbursed and to restore trust in the travel and tourism sector.
“BEUC and its members will continue to follow closely Member States’ reactions to the infringement proceedings and the implementation of the Commission’s recent recommendations, which stated clearly that all vouchers offered to consumers for cancelled travel must be given on a voluntary basis, insolvency protected, and flexible. Several consumer groups already took legal action against various airlines.”