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A "directive" is a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU countries must achieve. However, it is up to the individual countries to devise their own laws on how to reach these goals. One example is the EU consumer rights directive, which strengthens rights for consumers across the EU, for example by eliminating hidden charges and costs on the internet, and extending the period under which consumers can withdraw from a sales contract.
Directives require EU countries to achieve a certain result, but leave them free to choose how to do so. EU countries must adopt measures to incorporate them into national law (transpose) in order to achieve the objectives set by the directive. National authorities must communicate these measures to the European Commission.
Transposition into national law must take place by the deadline set when the directive is adopted (generally within 2 years). When a country does not transpose a directive, the Commission may initiate infringement proceedings.