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Brussels, 25 September 2006

Competitiveness Council reaches political agreement on a Consumer Programme for 2007-2013

The EU Competitiveness Council today reached political agreement on a €156.8 million programme to support the EU consumer protection policy for the 2007-2013 period. The programme’s main objectives are to ensure high levels of consumer protection, through effective representation of consumer interests, and to ensure that consumer protection rules are effectively applied across the Union.

Welcoming the political agreement, Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said "I am pleased that we now have in sight a firm financial basis for consumer policy for the next seven years. In line with the Financial Perspectives package, the final amount is considerably reduced from the Commission’s original proposal and barely exceeds past expenditure for fifteen Member States. We will all need to work very hard to get more from less. I am confident, however, that consumer policy can approach the next Financial Perspectives negotiations with a sound record of achievement for Europe’s consumers and taxpayers. I urge the Parliament and Council to complete the necessary procedures so the new programme can enter into force from early 2007. "

The proposal was adopted by the Commission on 24 May 2006 as part of the Financial Perspective package. The programme is the means by which the EU can implement its aim to "contribute to protecting the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, and promoting their right to information and education". It enables the EU to carry out evidence gathering work to identify how the internal market is working for consumers; support cross-border enforcement of consumer legislation and information, advice and education for European consumers.

The programme will in due course return for final adoption to the European Parliament which has informally signalled its approval of the common position adopted today by the Council.

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