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Speech by Vice-President Jourová on New Consumer Agenda

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 13 november 2020.

I have to start with a positive note that Europe has some of the strongest consumer rights in the world.

We have a robust framework to protect and support consumers, which the EU has been building for almost five decades.

At the same time we experienced - for instance with the dieselgate or mass cancellations of flights and travels - that consumers are not always well equipped to enforce their rights.

The Commission has already taken decisive action to address these problems.

Our new measures on collective actions and on better enforcement of EU consumer protection rules have already been agreed.

But there are more challenges ahead. Over time, the way in which consumers shop and what they buy has significantly changed. With the New Consumer Agenda we are presenting to you today, we make a step forward to empower consumers with all the rights they need to have in an ever rapidly changing environment.

Our New Agenda sets out the strategic lines in the coming years in several priority areas. This is our blueprint for what we want to focus on in the next 5 years, together with the Member States and at the national level.

Didier will explain the New Agenda in details, but let me highlight a couple of points.

First, we want to help consumers to feel empowered and to be more active and involved in both the green and digital transitions. We want to propose a new legislation that will allow consumers to get better information on sustainability of the products and adapt existing legislation to digital transformation.

A growing number of consumers today expect a product to be sustainable, having the smallest environmental footprint, yet lasting as long as possible. We want to help meet those expectations.

When it comes to the digital sphere, we want to make it fair. It's shocking that on average 60% of websites did not comply with basic consumer rules between 2007 and 2019. This must change, fast, as the consumers are shifting increasingly online. And the pandemic only increased this tendency. This is why we want to tackle online scams, dark pattern and hidden advertising.

At the same time, we have drawn from the lessons learnt in the COVID-19 crisis. We are, for instance, working with consumer authorities and the companies to address scams with sanitary products, like masks, very swiftly and keep Europeans safe.

Consumers have a huge power to make companies more responsible and more responsive. We want to be on the side of consumers, and help them to make free choices. In the same time, we will negotiate with our international partners to ensure that their goods delivered to Europe will keep European standards.

Finally, I would like to use this opportunity and call national authorities for vigorous enforcement of the consumer rules. Cheating cannot be cheap. Not in Europe.

Thank you.

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