thisOn the occasion of this year’s conference on “New Ways to Enforce Consumer Rights”, representatives from policy making, the economy, academia, and associations discussed how consumers can better enforce their rights. In his keynote speech, Prof Dr Hans-W. Micklitz, member of the German Expert Council for Consumer Issues (SVRV), prompted politicians to establish a new agency bundling competences for an effective and rapid consumer rights enforcement. In this regard, Prof Micklitz called for the following:
- A new German Task Force for legal enforcement in all areas of consumer protection is to be set up as a completely new authority, which has the right to investigate and enforce cases.
- This Task Force should be understood as an integrated approach, which connects collective and individual redress and civil and public enforcement.
- Given the planned EU-reform to coordinate consumer protection, such an authority is especially important for Germany in order to not fall behind international standards in terms of consumer rights enforcement.
Prof Micklitz noted: "With a Task Force we can close the most important gaps, which have resulted from the association model and the fragmentation of competences. I imagine a small but powerful structure and not another large public authority." As the German Federal Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, underlined, policy makers are indeed open to to this suggestion. "We have an open ear for revolutionary ideas to the benefit of citizens and consumers", said Maas.