Globalization, liberalization and digitalization not only bring new opportunities for consumers, but also new challenges to face. It is therefore the task of consumer policy to ensure adequate consumer protection. This requires, among other things, institutions to exist that protect and empower consumers.
On behalf of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, in this project ConPolicy addressed the questions of which requirements must the institutional structure in consumer policy fulfill, to which extent does the current institutional structure already meet these requirements and what actions are required to achieve these goals.
In addition to a literature review, the study is based on three expert workshops, which were conducted in 2013 in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
The main result of the study is that serious needs for action exist. These cover the following areas in particular:
- The current heterogeneous landscape of institutions in consumer policy needs to be consolidated. Not more, but better institutions are needed.
- Overlaps in the responsibilities of consumer policy institutions need to be reduced and avoided in the future.
- The institutionalized exchange between actors and their cooperation should be promoted.
- The innovativeness of the current actors should be ensured.
- Consumer participation in the decision-making process needs to be improved.
The study results were presented at a special event on 22 September 2014 and the subject was discussed by Gerd Billen (State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection), Jochen Homann (President of the Bundesnetzagentur - The German Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway), Dr Elke König (President of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority), Klaus Müller (Head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations) and Andreas Mundt (President of the Bundeskartellamt – The Federal Cartel Office).
The publication can be downloaded here.