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Empowering European consumers and boosting their trust

Empowering European consumers and boosting their trust

Consumer confidence is a vital component of a strong and competitive European economy.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A European consumer agenda - Boosting confidence and growth (COM/2012/0225 final of 22 May 2012).

SUMMARY

In 2012, the Commission issued a Communication adopting a European consumer agenda to boost confidence and growth by putting consumers at the heart of the single market.

Two years later, the Commission published a report on consumer policy between January 2012 and December 2013 assessing the initiatives taken since 2012 to increase that confidence, particularly in an era of expanding online and cross-border shopping.

WHAT DOES THE COMMUNICATION DO?

In 2012, the Commission set out its strategic vision for EU consumer policy in the years ahead. It identified 61 measures to guarantee and strengthen consumers’ confidence in a rapidly changing commercial world. The measures focused on consumer safety, access to information, redress and enforcement, and ensuring that consumers’ rights keep pace with rapid technological changes.

WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED?

A Commission report issued in 2014 concludes that 50 of the measures identified in the 2012 European consumer agenda had been completed by December 2013. The remaining 11 are under way.

The 2014 report records that on:

  • promoting consumer safety, the Commission has adopted proposals on general product safety and market surveillance. More specific initiatives have covered tourist accommodation, medical devices, cosmetics and animal and plant health;
  • enhancing knowledge of consumer rights, the Commission has produced targeted information on consumer protection and launched user-friendly websites and databases. It has discussed with key stakeholders, such as consumer organisations, businesses and regulators, the two basic issues of environmental claims and ways of making online comparisons;
  • strengthening enforcement of consumer rules, major proposals have been adopted on alternative and online dispute resolution and collective redress;
  • integrating consumer interests into key policy areas, the Commission has mainly focused on financial services, digital markets, energy, transport, food and sustainable consumption.

BACKGROUND

Consumer expenditure represents just over 50 % of EU gross domestic product. This gives individuals an enormous collective influence over the health of Europe’s economy. Ensuring their confidence and trust is a fundamental pillar in the growth of the EU’s single market.

Further information is available from the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers website.

RELATED ACTS

Commission Staff Working Document - Report on Consumer Policy (July 2010-December 2011) Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A European consumer agenda - Boosting confidence and growth (SWD/2012/0132 final of 22.5.2012)

European Commission Report on Consumer Policy January 2012-December 2013.

last update 05.01.2015

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