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New consumer agenda

Briefing 03-02-2021

Consumer expenditure accounted for 52.6 % of European Union gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same year, one in five consumers said they had had at least one reason to complain about a purchase the previous year – a number largely unchanged for a decade. Increasingly, consumers do their shopping online. One in six people bought at least one item online in 2019. Yet while online shopping is now ubiquitous, European rules have lagged behind. On 13 November 2020, the European Commission ...

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of ...

Low-cost air carriers and tourism

Oversigt 20-06-2017

The liberalisation of air transport, which resulted in the creation of new routes and new business models for airlines, in particular the development of low-cost carriers, has led to lower fares and wider access to air transport. In many countries, air transport is a catalyst for tourism development. As low-cost carriers in the EU have experienced substantial growth, serving mostly short-haul destinations, they are increasingly looking into investing into the long-haul market for their future development ...

As part of its action plan on the circular economy, the EU is aiming to give substance to a more efficient use of resources by reducing food waste and increasing food security. The European Parliament is due to vote in May 2017 on an own-initiative report proposing measures to cut the 88 million tonnes of edible food wasted annually in the EU by half by 2030.

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the interrelation between the Consumer Sales and Guarantee Directive (CSD) and the Ecodesign Directive (EDD) with respect to guarantees and product expected lifetime. Through legal research and stakeholder surveys, it develops an EU lifespan guarantee model, which could be implemented by amendments to the proposal for an Online ...

There is increasing interest in the EU – as in other parts of the world – about how to make use of insect protein in animal feed and human food. While most EU Member States have forbidden the use of insects as human food, others have adopted a more flexible approach, allowing some products on their markets. Until now, EU legislation on insects for human food had had an uncertain stance, but the revised Regulation on novel foods will change this.

Unlike a traditional linear economy based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern, a circular economy is based on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling in an almost closed loop. Moving towards a circular economy could deliver benefits but also poses challenges. In 2015, the European Commission presented a circular economy package seeking to enable a transition to this new model, in particular by updating EU waste policy. This note has been prepared for the European ...

In its 'Energy 2020 strategy' in 2010, the European Commission stated 'Energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to reduce emissions, improve energy security and competitiveness, make energy consumption more affordable for consumers as well as create employment, including in export industries'. A year later, the Commission presented a proposal for a Directive on energy efficiency, which entered into forced on 4 December 2012. A further three years later, the European Implementation Assessment ...

Digital technologies play an important role in the everyday life of most Europeans; the internet allows people, businesses and governments to transform the ways they communicate and engage with one another. Yet some parts of the population are still excluded from using these new methods. Improving the EU fast broadband internet infrastructure is as important as upgrading the digital skills of citizens: 10% increase in broadband penetration may raise gross domestic product (GDP) by 1-1.5%, and by ...

Online consumer review sites and platforms are tools that are widely used by consumers and are becoming embedded in both consumer behaviour and business models. A 2013 European Consumer Centres' Network web survey showed that 82% of respondents read consumer reviews before shopping. Tools for increasing consumer awareness and raising their trust in the market should not, however, mislead consumers with fake reviews, which, according to different estimates, represent between 1% and 16% of all 'consumer ...