Members of the European Parliament approved a new EU consumer programme for 2014-2020. It will allow the support of projects which, inter alia, empower vulnerable consumers, strengthen European consumer organisations and promote the development of price comparison websites.
The overall financial envelope for this programme amounts to 189 Million Euro and will support actions in the fields of product safety, consumer information and education, redress and enforcement.
The three core areas are:
- Vulnerable consumers: Particular attention will be paid to vulnerable consumers, like elders or minors, who - due to their specific situations - are less inclined to fully understand and exercise their rights as consumers. Therefore projects seeking to inform and educate consumers will have to take into account the needs of this consumer group.
- More support for consumer organisations: Consumer organisations at Union level shall have a possibility to get adequate support from the Consumer programme, as they have a major role in providing information and assistance to consumers.
- Price comparison website: The new rules will allow funding the development of comparison websites, which could facilitate consumers' access to reliable, comparable and easily accessible information on prices and quality of goods or services. This tool could make consumers more independent and better informed by allowing them to compare data, including cross-border cases. To increase consumers' faith in these websites, funding could also support the development of trustworthiness of such websites.
Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Consumer Policy comments: "I very much welcome the adoption of the Consumer programme by the European Parliament. For just 5 cents a year for every European (just about €25 million a year) we have a programme that helps consumers in their daily life to know and enforce their rights, get better deals and be protected from unsafe products.”
Further information: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140110IPR32342/html/New-consumer-programme-more-independent-and-better-informed-consumer and http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/strategy/docs/proposal_consumer_programme_2014-2020_en.pdf
Source: EU commission