The EESC welcomes in principle the integration of five predecessor programmes (and of the European Statistical Programme, though that extends beyond the scope of the single market) and a number of budget headings into a single market programme, as it can be expected to produce synergies and improve cost efficiency. Due to steadily increasing volume of work in consumer protection policy EESC urges the Commission to further develop cooperation with consumer networks and organisations and to increase funding for consumer protection. It is also concerned that the negotiations on the EU financial framework could result in cuts and thus in a lower budget than in the past.
Evaluation of the Consumer Credit Directive - Related Opinions
While supporting the pilot project to set up a financial expertise centre for consumers and end-users of financial services, the EESC feels it would be useful to call for a number of conditions to be met: legitimacy, financial independence, transparency and accountability, public visibility, as well as balance between financial sector professionals and users.
With this opinion the EESC takes the opportunity to comment on how the European market for retail financial services can be further opened up. The EESC welcomes that the Commission is on track and has an ambitious programme for implementing the Action Plan on Building a Capital Markets Union, also endorsing that consumers should be given the opportunity, whenever possible, to compare different products, so they can make an informed choice.
The EESC welcomes the Commission communication and emphasises the growth potential of crowdfunding in the EU as an alternative source of funding. It also emphasises the dependence of SMEs on bank loans, a situation that will persist despite the existence of alternative sources which are not always easy to access. Therefore Crowdfunding should be explicitly recognised in the laws of the Member States as a new form of patronage.
Over-indebtedness has grown with the financial crisis, the rising cost of living and use of cash credit. However, it has not been properly addressed at EU level. The EESC wants that an appropriate uniform procedure is put in place including verification of claims, a European framework for usury or preventive measures.