In its 2020 Work Programme, the European Commission announced that under its second priority – ‘Europe fit for the digital age’ – it would publish a new consumer policy strategy for the period until 2024. The new ‘consumer agenda’ should be adopted in the last quarter of 2020. It will replace the current consumer agenda, which lays out the Commission’s vision for consumer policy for the 2014-2020 period.
On 30 June, the Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views from stakeholders on the main initiatives that the Commissions plans to propose in the EU consumer policy field in 2020 and 2021. These initiatives are:
- A Commission Communication on a new European Consumer Agenda, and three legislative proposals respectively on:
Ecommerce Europe has been closely following the discussions on the New Consumer Agenda and is gathering members’ feedback on the Commission’s main pillars:
A New Consumer Agenda
The new European Consumer Agenda will set out the main consumer policy priorities in the EU for the years to come. The consultation covers both issues emerging in the short term from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on key EU consumer protection areas and the medium-long term priorities that, in the respondents’ views, should characterize a future EU consumer policy strategy. The overall aim of the Commission is to take stock of a number of trends affecting consumer markets and the related challenges. The Commission is looking specifically at the increasing use of online sales channels and the importance of ensuring safety for consumers.
Empowering consumers in the green transition
As part of the new Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission intends to propose a revision of EU consumer law to ensure that consumers receive trustworthy and relevant information on products at the point of sale, including on their lifespan and on the availability of repair services, spare parts and repair manuals. It will also consider further strengthening consumer protection against greenwashing and premature obsolescence, setting minimum requirements for sustainability labels/logos and for information tools. Please note that relevant questions and topics may also be covered under other future public consultations such as, for instance, for the legislative proposal on substantiating green claims and Legislative proposal for a sustainable product policy initiative.
Consumer Credit Directive
The Consumer Credit Directive (CCD) aims to foster the single market for consumer credit while ensuring high protection standards for consumers. The Commission argues that the CCD has succeeded to harmonize the information that consumers obtain before accepting a credit agreement between EUR 200 and EUR 75.000 and to give them a right to withdraw from such agreement within 14 days. It finds however, that various credits fall outside the scope of the Directive, that the information requirements are not fully adapt to the ongoing digitization of this market, and that rules on responsible lending have only been partially effective in practice.General Product Safety Directive
Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety (GPSD) addresses the safety of non-food consumer products for which there are no specific provisions with the same safety objective in other EU legislation (such as EU sector-specific product legislation, e.g. toys). The GPSD also sets up the EU Rapid Alert System for information exchange on dangerous non-food products among Member States. The GPSD provides for the safety of a variety of products, for example childcare products that are not toys (e.g. dummies, children high-chairs, pushchairs, baby changing units) and other products such as bicycles, personal training equipment, laser pointers, furniture, etc. This part of the consultation follows the GPSD Consultation that was conducted by an external consultancy hired by the European Commission over the summer and to which Ecommerce Europe responded.
The deadline to provide feedback to all four initiatives included in the public consultation is 6 October 2020.