Consumer Reader: What are the highlights of the new European Union Consumer Agenda - Part 3

In the first part of the current publication, we introduced you to the essence of the document that lays the foundations for new consumer policies in the European Union - the Consumer Agenda for the period 2020-2025. We talked about the main areas in which these policies are focused, and in particular about the measures that the European Commission is planning in connection with the new market conditions in times of pandemic.

In the second part we introduced you to the green and digital transition of European consumption and the activities planned in connection with it.

We will now introduce you to the measures planned for the effective implementation of consumer protection, meeting the specific needs of consumers and protection of rights in a global context. 

Effective application and protection

A survey of websites between 2007 and 2019 found that, on average, 60% of them did not respect fundamental consumer rights. 

This is the reason why measures need to be taken for effective protection. The Commission plans to: 

  1. To assist Member States in the timely and effective transposition, implementation and enforcement of the Directive on Better Enforcement and Modernisation of Consumer Law, which will enter into force in May 2022, and in connection with the future Directive on Representative Actions once it has been formally adopted and entered into force.
  2. In 2022 and every two years thereafter, the Commission, together with the national authorities, will present common priorities to the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network in relation to non-compliance.
  3. By 2022, the Commission will introduce a set of innovative electronic tools to strengthen the capacity of national authorities to tackle illegal online commercial practices and identify dangerous products.
  4. By 2023, the Commission will evaluate the implementation of consumer protection legislation and assess the effectiveness of its implementation.

The forthcoming Directive on Representative Actions allows consumers to join forces. This makes it easier for qualified authorities to bring cases before courts or administrative authorities in relation to consumers' collective interests, including in cross-border situations. This will facilitate consumers' search for joint protection in cases that are similar and of shared public interest.


Meeting the specific needs of consumers

In 2018, 10% of households in the EU had overdue mortgage, rent, utility bills or loan payments, where they were at risk of over-indebtedness. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating the situation of many indebted consumers. Efforts are needed to establish good practices to support them. According to studies, every euro spent on debt advice can save more than two euros in the form of social benefits. Here are the measures taken by the Commission on the subject:

  1. From 2021, funding will increase to enhanse the availability and quality of debt counseling services in the Member States.
  2. From 2021, initiatives will be supported to provide local advice to consumers who do not have access to support and information provided online or in central information services.
  3. In 2021, a Commission decision will be drawn up on the product safety requirements for children and a revision of the General Product Safety Directive.
  4. By 2023, the Commission will develop a strategic approach to improving consumer awareness and education, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination.


Consumer protection in a global context

The share of purchases from non-EU sellers increased from 17% in 2014 to 27% in 2019. 

With the rapid development of e-commerce, cooperation with international partners, in particular China, has become even more important, especially in the matter of product safety. 

  1. In 2021, the Commission aims to develop an action plan with China for enhanced product safety cooperation for products sold online.
  2. From 2021, the Commission will seek to develop regulatory support, technical assistance and capacity building for EU partner countries, including in Africa. 

The implementation of the program is based on intensive cooperation between the Member States, between the Commission and organizations of all stakeholders: consumer organizations, civil society, industry. Each year, short-term goals will be discussed at the European Consumer Summit, which traditionally takes place on World Consumer Rights Day, which is regularly attended by representatives of NAIS.


If, as a consumer, you believe that you have purchased a product that does not meet safety requirements or you are a user of a financial service that hides unsuspected conditions, difficult-to-understand clauses or you have been a victim of unfair commercial practices, you can always submit a complain in the ODR platform to try to solve the problem with the EU  trader, either local or cross-border. The negotiations with the company will be aided by a third independent and impartial person, a mediator. We will be glad to help you if you choose NAIS as an ADR body. All this happens entirely online, in the form of a chat, from a convenient place for you and the merchant, at a time convenient for each of the parties.

Do not miss the next publications in the News section of In the section "Consumer Reader" we will tell you about the most interesting conclusions from the research of the European Commission, conducted in 2020, on consumer habits and the way the Covid-19 pandemic has affected European consumers.

In the section "Handbook for Trade Leaders" we will continue the series "ARE CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS A GOOD THING AND HOW MUCH DOES AN UNDERRATED COMPLAINT COST"

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Published on 02.04.2021 Back to news