The European Commission presented its New Consumer Agenda today, which seeks to empower European consumers in the green and digital transition. This Agenda comprises five different packages of measures at EU and Member State level over the next five years.
The Agenda includes the following points of action:
Green transition: The Commission seeks to improve information on the sustainability of consumer products for better informed purchase decisions, while fighting practices of greenwashing and early obsolescence and promoting repair and circular products instead.
Digital transformation: Consumers should be better protected from unfair commercial practices online such as dark patterns and hidden advertising. Those practices distort the consumer decision-making process by taking advantage of behavioral biases and, thereby, violate the consumer right to make an informed purchase choice. This will require new as well as adapted rules for governing the digital economy, for Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as for connected products and retail financial services.
Enforcement of consumer rights: The Commission will assist Member States with effectively enforcing consumer rights through a Consumer Protection Cooperation network. It will also strengthen the capacity of national authorities to tackle unfair commercial practices and unsafe products by deploying a set of innovative e-tools.
Special consumer groups: Especially in the context of the Corona pandemic, the Commission seeks to support consumers with financial vulnerabilities by increasing funding for improved debt advice in Member States and by promoting initiatives providing local advice on how to access information – online and offline.
International cooperation: In order to ensure and enhance the safety of products sold online, the Commission will develop an Action Plan with China and, moreover, develop regulatory support, technical assistance and capacity building for EU partner regions including some African countries.
Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organization BEUC, commented: "The EU has set the bar high with its new Consumer Agenda. Consumers’ concerns and expectations need to be central to any policy plan be it in health, energy, finance or the digital and green transition. We urge all European and national policy-makers to work together to meet its objectives. Just as the second wave of the Corona pandemic is hitting the EU hard, consumers need reassurance that the EU and national governments improve protections people can rely on. The consumer agenda is the right road map for this to happen. We expect the European Commission to fulfil the objectives of the consumer agenda."
Source: EC & BEUC