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EU cross border research aims to better protect consumers in financial difficulty

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In the aftermath of the financial crisis an increasing number of consumers in the EU are facing extreme debt problems, due to excessive lending. One in nine people across the EU are unable to repay their debts. (source: Eurostat)

A challenging research project, led by Dr Federico Ferretti of Brunel University Law School, tackles this problem. It questions the current law and policies on responsible lending and borrowing to consumers.

The 24 month study is funded by a €227.000 grant from the EU’s Civil Justice Programme. It looks into improving EU legislation, to better protect consumers in financial difficulty and at the integration of EU retail financial markets.

The comparative research is conducted in collaboration with three partners: Professor Holger Sutschet, University of Applied Sciences Osnabruck (Germany), Professor Riccardo Salomone, University of Trento (Italy) and Viktor Tsiafoutis, EKPIZO (Greece).

For each country the partners study and discuss the debt problems, the practice in handling debt and consumer bankruptcy.

Dr. Federico Ferretti, Senior Lecturer in Law at Brunel University London said: "We question and work closely together with consumer associations, financial institutions, insolvency practitioners, policy makers, and other academics, to understand and address the needs of all stakeholders involved. The aim is to come to a fair and efficient legal system at EU level that addresses all stages of consumer’s financial difficulty."