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MEPs strike informal deal with Council Presidency to empower vulnerable consumers

Members of the European Parliament's Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) stroke an informal deal with the EU Council Presidency on a wide-ranging EU policy programme aimed at strengthening consumer organisations and promoting price comparison websites. The EU's Consumer Programme will cover the period 2014-2020 and supports actions in the fields of product safety, consumer information and education, redress and enforcement. The provisionally agreed text still needs be formally approved by the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives and Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The committee will probably vote on the deal in one of its future meetings, paving the way for a plenary vote tentatively still this year.

The new programme will pay special attention to vulnerable consumers, like elderly people or minors, who are less likely to fully understand and exercise their rights as consumers, ensured MEPs. EU level consumer organisations will get support from the Consumer Programme, as they are seen as playing an important role in assisting consumers, thereby increasing confidence, and making the internal market work better. Moreover a proposal to set up an online portal for consumer groups, which would help to promote the exchange of good practice and expertise by freely sharing available training material, is included.

"In our society, where the wealth of information available can ultimately overwhelm us, we felt it was essential to provide consumers with the means to better compare not only the price, but also the quality of goods and services. In this context, I welcome the principle of encouraging the development of reliable comparison websites," said French rapporteur from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Robert Rochefort, after the deal was reached.

 

Further information:

http://www.robertrochefort.eu/programme-consommateurs-nous-avons-un-deal/ and Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a consumer programme 2014-2020

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/strategy/docs/proposal_consumer_programme_2014-2020_en.pdf

Source: Robert Rochefort