2013 European Consumer Day: EESC stressed that confidence and choice are needed to strengthen Single Market

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) stressed at the European Consumer Day celebrated on 14 March 2013, that increased consumer confidence and empowerment can help boost the Single Market. It also underlined that there can be no compromise on consumer product safety.

At the European Consumer Day on 14 March 2013, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) stressed that while enhanced safety standards and market surveillance are needed to protect against injury and unfair competition, increased consumer confidence and empowerment can help boost the Single Market. In July 2012, the Commission proposed new rules proposed to improve consumer protection in financial services.

Staffan Nilsson, President of the EESC, also pointed out that active consumer organisations are essential to growth, because ultimately it is the consumer who decides what and where to buy. Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, added that by eliminating some of the gaps and overlaps in current legislation and facilitating enforcement, the EU hopes to provide the right conditions for improved consumer confidence and a more effective and stringent management of supply chains.

With consumer confidence declining rapidly amid the ongoing horsemeat scandal, this year's European Consumer Day addressed the timely issues of product safety and market surveillance. Forming a major subject of debate was the European Commission's recently adopted package to harmonise non-food product safety rules, improve traceability and enforce harsher penalties, ensuring greater protection for both consumers and businesses. Concluding that such measures are a necessary pre-requisite for the functioning of the internal market, the conference also marked the launch of a joint call for a pan-European accident and injury data system, signed by 28 EU-level organisations.