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Under Article 169 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, consumer policy aims to protect the health, safety and interests of almost half a billion potential consumers, who play a vital economic and political role in society.

Since the mid 1970s, European Union (EU) Member States have safeguarded consumers’ interests through numerous specific measures. The EU works to harmonise legislation in order to protect consumers and their rights and guarantee a high level of protection throughout the single market, including in rapidly evolving areas like online trading, energy supplies and financial services. It also helps European Consumer Centres promote consumers’ rights to information and education, and their right to organise in order to defend their interests. It also offers help with regard to cross-border disputes.