Consumer protection in the EU: Policy overview

01-09-2015

'Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision', were the words of US President JF Kennedy in 1962, which marked the dawn of consumer rights. A lot has changed since then, but the fast-paced and ever-changing world is still a constant in our daily lives as consumers. In recent years, EU consumer policy has shifted from the technical harmonisation of standards to the recognition of consumer protection as a part of the effort to establish a 'Europe for citizens'. But what precisely does the European Union' consumer protection legislation encompass and which tools are used to monitor and improve the protection of European consumers? This document seeks to answer these questions, providing a snapshot of the main consumer policy developments in recent years, together with success stories, shortcomings and future challenges for legislators.

'Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision', were the words of US President JF Kennedy in 1962, which marked the dawn of consumer rights. A lot has changed since then, but the fast-paced and ever-changing world is still a constant in our daily lives as consumers. In recent years, EU consumer policy has shifted from the technical harmonisation of standards to the recognition of consumer protection as a part of the effort to establish a 'Europe for citizens'. But what precisely does the European Union' consumer protection legislation encompass and which tools are used to monitor and improve the protection of European consumers? This document seeks to answer these questions, providing a snapshot of the main consumer policy developments in recent years, together with success stories, shortcomings and future challenges for legislators.