Consumers

The Single Market has made it easier for EU consumers and businesses to buy and sell goods and services in their country or cross-border, on- or offline. But this requires trust in the market, modern laws and efficient enforcement. 

The EESC aims to ensure consumers have the rights and protection they need, and to identify and combat unfair and illegal trading practices. We also promote more sustainable consumption patterns, and cooperate with national consumer councils.

The annual European Consumer Day Conference, held since 1999, is the high point of the consumer calendar.

Within the consumer theme, we address a number of specific topics, including:

  • Enforcement of consumers’ rights
  • Consumers and financial services
  • Consumption and poverty
  • Consumer redress
  • Consumer education
  • Sustainable consumption

They are mainly dealt with by the Section for the Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT), where members with specific experience and expertise – some from national consumer councils – ensure that all Europeans’ interests are taken into account in policy proposals and decisions.

 

Events & Activities on Consumers

Publications on Consumers

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  • Published In: 2014
    4 pages
    What development opportunities does the TTIP bring to Europe?

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is the biggest and most ambitious free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the European Union. Economists believe that an agreement with the USA will be advantageous for both the European Union and the USA, and the negative effects of trade liberalisation will be insignificant. This publication is a summary of the debate on "What development opportunities does the TTIP bring to Europe?" that was held in Sopot on 2 October 2014 as part of the European Forum for New Ideas. The participants were discussing which aspects of the US-EU agreement offer the greatest potential for European businesses, what the potential dangers of the TTIP are for European businesses and how to avoid them.

     

     

  • Published In: 2014
    6 pages
    European Consumer Day

    The 16 th edition of the European Consumer Day will be held in Thessaloniki on 14 March 2014.
    Even in times of crisis consumers have their rights. Those rights are legally binding and even a long-lasting crisis cannot be used as an excuse for the lack of enforcement. What challenges lie ahead of policy makers in the field of consumer protection? Are enforcement bodies efficient enough or are consumer rights just a mirage in those difficult times? How to fight overindebtedness and financial exclusion?
     

  • Published In: 2014
    12 pages
    Towards more sustainable consumption: industrial product lifetimes and restoring trust through consumer information

    Planned obsolescence is associated with a form of industrial production that relies on a minimum renewal rate for its products. Although product renewal is necessary, certain abuses need to be addressed. The EESC would like to see a total ban on products with built-in defects designed to end the product's life.

  • Published In: 2013
    4 pages
    European Consumer Day
    The expansion of trade both within the EU and with commercial partners located in other parts of the world has increased the variety products available to European citizens. Protecting health and safety of consumers, who buy and use products in all Member States, is a top priority for the EU.
  • Published In: 2012
    2 pages
    European banking sector/financial services - EESC Position paper
    Since 2007, the global financial crisis, sparked to a large extent by failures in the banking sector, has caused hardship for ordinary people around the world. It has demonstrated starkly the need for stricter regulation and supervision of the banks and financial services that underpin society.
  • Published In: 2012
    12 pages
    A citizens-orientated approach to the Single Market
    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted in February 2012 an opinion on “A people-orientated, grassroots approach to the Single Market”. In parallel, the EFTA Consultative Committee (EFTA CC) adopted an opinion on “A citizen’s approach to the Single Market” which focuses on the need to promote the awareness and confidence of workers, business and consumers in the Single Market. The EFTA CC and the SMO stressed the importance of a coordinated effort by all 30 EEA States to increase citizens’ participation in the Single Market.
  • Published In: 2012
    28 pages
    Obstacles to the European Single Market
    After 20 years of existence, the Single Market is still a work in progress. While a number of barriers have been abolished, new ones have appeared. It is therefore important to track developments in this area, take stock of the remaining obstacles and set up a road map for the Single Market to operate smoothly in the interest of all.