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Consumer Policy Strategy 2002-2006
This communication aims at establishing a high common level of consumer protection, the effective enforcement of consumer protection rules and the involvement of consumer organisations in EU policies.
Communication from the Commission of 7 May 2002 to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - "Consumer Policy Strategy 2000-2006" [COM (2002) 208 final - Official Journal C137/2 of 08.06.2002]
These three objectives are designed to help to achieve integration of consumer concerns into all other EU policies, to maximise the benefits of the single market for consumers and to prepare for enlargement.
Consumers do not derive full benefit from the internal market. In order to strengthen the internal market, consumers need simpler and more uniform rules, a similar degree of application throughout the Union, more accessible information and education measures and effective appeal mechanisms.
Scope of the strategy:
- consumer safety;
- economic and legal issues relevant to consumers in the market place;
- consumer information and education;
- promotion of consumer organisations and their contribution to consumer policy development.
The objectives of the strategy are:
- a high common level of consumer protection;
- effective enforcement of protection rules;
- involvement of citizens in EU policies through consumer organisations.
These objectives will be implemented using a range of measures over the next five years (2002-2006). A short-term rolling programme is planned and will be regularly reviewed. For each objective, the strategy presents the main measures that the Commission intends to take over the next five years. The Commission will put forward separate, distinct proposals to the Council and the Parliament.
Objective 1: "A high common level of consumer protection"
This objective means harmonising, by whatever means is most appropriate (framework directive, standards, best practices), not just the safety of goods and services, but also those economic and legal aspects that give consumers the confidence necessary to conduct transactions anywhere in the internal market. Under this objective, the priority actions will involve follow-up to the commercial practices issues addressed by the Green Paper on EU Consumer Protection in the European Union and will relate to the safety of services.
Objective 2: "Effective enforcement of consumer protection rules"
Given that the degree of economic integration in the internal market is increasing steadily and that more and more opportunities are opening up for consumers, consumers should be given the same protection in practice throughout the EU. Under this objective, the priority actions are the development of an administrative cooperation framework between Member States and of appeal mechanisms for consumers.
Objective 3: "Involvement of consumer organisations in EU policies"
In order for consumer protection policies to be effective, consumers themselves must have the opportunity to provide input into the development of policies that affect them. Consumers and their representatives must have the capacity and the necessary resources to promote their interests on an equal footing with the other parties concerned.
The main actions for achieving this objective are the revision of mechanisms for the participation of consumer organisations in EU policy-making and the establishment of education and capacity-building projects.