The Government has called a European Union proposal for an alternative voluntary new legal system for contract law as the Esperanto approach. This comment came in a response to a European Commission consultation that had asked what Member States had wanted in response to seven different options. The European Commission had put forward the options as possibilities after saying that cross-border trade within the EU had been hampered due to different contract laws affecting business-to-consumer laws. The UK Government considered that there was no such problem. The Government claimed that its own research had shown that businesses considered currency, tax, shipping and language issues to be much more important issues than contract law compliance. Even if there was an issue over a common contract regime, the Government argued against the creation of an additional “28th” contract law regime proposed (ie an additional one to the existing regimes of each Member State), as just like the failed Esperanto language it would be uncomfortable and unfamiliar to everyone.
The European Parliament has meanwhile indicated that it supports the 28th contract law regime. Other options floated by the Commission range from full harmonisation in place of all Member States’ contract laws through to non-binding recommendations.