Financial education and responsible consumption of financial products

EESC opinion: Financial education and responsible consumption of financial products

Key points:



  • recognises that the European Commission and the OECD have responded to growing complexity and lack of transparency in the financial system;
  • therefore calls on the financial industry to apply the new legislation properly and to self-regulate in order to foster appropriate and honest practices  and making it easier to access transparent financial products;  
  • feels that Europeans have a responsibility to improve their financial awareness throughout their lives. Financial education should be seen as a comprehensive policy in which all stakeholders work together;
  • calls for financial education to become a compulsory subject on the school curriculum, and this education should be followed up in training and retraining programmes for workers;
  • feels that financial education that is accessible to everyone will benefit society as a whole. The financial industry itself has an obligation to be actively involved in programmes focusing on both microfinance and education, and in the provision of access to basic financial services;
  • wishes to point out that current financial education programmes have limited reach and stresses that it is important to evaluate their suitability;
  • stresses that the needs of financial-product users must be a priority issue at high-level international meetings such as the G-20 summits. It therefore calls for the setting-up of a group of experts in consumer financial protection.