New European Consumer Programme

The European Union started a new Consumer Programme. Until 2020, the focus lies on better consumer protection on behalf of cross-boarder purchases.

 

Bad information and inadequate legal representation of consumers is a thorn in the European Unions side. In the coming six years, the new Consumer Programme aims to improve the service in these areas. With a budget of 5 Cent per year and consumer – that’s a total budget of 188,8 Mio. Euro, as the EU states in its press release.

 

Main topics

 

The programme is linked to the European domestic market. Consumer spending accounts for 56% of the EU’s GDP, which makes this a highly important economic factor. So it is even more important to improve satisfaction and trust among the consumers.

 

The key areas listed by the EU in its Programme are:

  • Safe products
  • Effective consumer organisations which represent the European citizens
  • Easy access to out-of-court legal protection instruments
  • Strengthening of teamwork and collaboration of national organisations

 

New challenges

 

The digital age more and more finds its way into consumer behavior of European citizens. In combination with the population ageing, uncertainty is a common result. The Consumer Programme focusses on consumer education, strengthening of legal representation and improved security.

 

Due to the encouragement of national, cross-boarder and EU consumer organisations, existing risks and problems should be better recognized and attempted. A main focus lies on cross-boarder activites. Cross-boarder enforcement of consumer rights should improve by stronger agencies.

 

European cooperation

 

The European Consumer Centers Net has a long tradition of advising and representing consumers. With the new Consumer Programme of the EU, its publicity among citizens should extend. Usually, they are set at the national consumer organisations. In Austria, the ECC Net is curated by and works closely with the Verein für Konsumenteninformation (VKI). Such close cooperation between national and Europe-wide agencies is a very important aim of the Consumer Programme 2014-2020, to provide consumers with the best possible service and protection.