Thursday, 9 February 2012

4 pillars of Consumer Agenda

Commissioner Dalli introduced current Consumer Agenda to members of IMCO today. In his speech he focused on four pillars: safety, information, rights and enforcement (see also our earlier post: "Roadmap for the European Consumer Agenda").

Soon, the General Product Safety Directive will be under revision. Changes to the existing provisions of the directive may lead to strengthening of market surveillance and deal with challenges linked to globalisation of the production chain. Another issue that needs to be tackled by the European Commission is how to move on from regulating safety of products to regulating safety of services, as well.

Consumers should not only have access to information but also tools to understand it. This means that information should be transparent, unbiased and accurate, on one hand, and that consumers should be educated so that they can understand the information they receive, on the other hand. The idea is to add consumer education to students' curriculum. Empowering consumer organisations will help in educating consumers, as well.

Consumer rights in sectoral policies will need to be made more transparent, easier to understand and make use of (especially as far as banking services are concerned).

Consumer redress should be fast, cheap and effective. The idea is to build on the proposals on ADRs and ODRs. The network of national enforcement authorities needs to be strengthened, coordination improved, and cross-border agencies encouraged to assist in solving more issues.

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