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On 23 September 2021, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to amend the 2014 Radio Equipment Directive, as a first step towards mandating a common charger for mobile phones and other small portable devices. Under the proposal, these devices would have to be equipped with a USB Type-C receptacle that can be charged with cables compatible with USB Type C, and to incorporate the USB Power Delivery communication protocol. The proposal would go hand in hand with an initiative on the ...

General product safety regulation

Briefing 21-09-2021

On 30 June 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a general product safety regulation, which would replace the current General Product Safety Directive, as part of the regulatory fitness-check programme (REFIT). The proposal seeks to address the challenges of product safety of emerging technologies, including use of artificial intelligence (AI) and connected devices, and to establish clear obligations for online marketplaces, which consumers increasingly use for their online purchases. The proposal ...

Vulnerable consumers

Briefing 21-05-2021

Compared to the average consumer, who is considered to be able to make rational choices to find the best deals and benefit from competitive markets, vulnerable consumers are not considered to be able to do so for a variety of reasons. There are two main approaches to identifying vulnerable consumers. One emphasises those individual characteristics of the consumer that increase the (theoretical) risk of becoming vulnerable, such as low socio-economic status, low education level, not being able to ...

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 ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers. Currently, consumer organisations or independent public bodies can bring actions in the name of consumers in courts or before administrative authorities to stop infringements of consumer legislation. According to the proposal, they would be able to demand compensation for consumers as well. The co-legislators adopted a new directive ...

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal, will require the EU to overhaul its production and consumption patterns. During the November II plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on an own-initiative report that recommends a possible way forward by making products more durable and easier to repair and recycle, and by providing consumers with more rights and information, so as to nudge them towards more sustainable choices.

Household consumption in the EU has major environmental impacts, which in a number of cases exceed planetary boundaries. Two thirds of consumers in the EU realise that their consumption habits have negative effects on the environment, and the solution that they mention most often is to change consumption habits and production patterns. However, a number of studies have shown a gap between consumers' good intentions and their actual behaviour. This happens because sustainability is not the only thing ...

European consumers enjoy a high level of rights, but when the rules protecting them are broken, they need to be enforced. The main goals of enforcement are to prevent and punish infringements, and to enable consumers harmed by infringements to get wrongs put right (consumer redress). In the 2019 consumer conditions scoreboard poll, one in five consumers said that they had encountered problems when buying a product or service in the previous 12 months. However, whereas two thirds of them had complained ...

As part of the third 'Europe on the move' package of measures, on 27 May 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users. The regulation is part of the EU's efforts to halve the number of fatal and serious injuries in road crashes between 2020 and 2030. It will introduce a number of advanced vehicle safety features ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive that showed that EU consumer legislation could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. Following negotiations ...