The New Consumer Agenda: broad consensus among the 27 Member States
The informal video conference of Ministers for Consumer Protection took place today, 16 March.
The meeting was chaired by the Portuguese Minister of State for the Economy and the Digital Transition, Pedro Siza Vieira, and included contributions by the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, and the Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament, Anna Cavazzini.
On the basis of the New Consumer Agenda, adopted on 13 November 2020, the Council’s conclusions, approved on 22 February 2021, and the results of the Consumer Summit, various concrete aspects of consumer protection policy were discussed.
In a nutshell, the Ministers indicated the main guidelines on how co-operation between all parties involved can be intensified at the political level, in the light of what consumers experienced during the pandemic and of the Member States’ efforts to find a balance between consumer and business interests, with a view to improving consumer empowerment and resilience.
A notable element of the meeting was also the discussion on best practice, aimed at improving the way the Internal Market operates and, at the same time, making consumer protection policy more effective and collaborative, without forgetting its necessary consumer empowerment.
“It was very clear that all Member States are fully committed to the New Consumer Agenda and the further development of European consumer protection policy,” the Minister Pedro Siza Vieira declared, enumerating the various conclusions of today’s informal meeting, which included both closer cooperation and concerns about consumer protection in a digital context.
“We want the platforms to be able to be held responsible for the information transmitted and for the way in which products are made available, in particular with regard to product safety and the safety of practices in accordance with the law,” added the Minister, also pointing out the consensus on the need for consumers to make informed decisions, especially on the environmental sustainability of products.