Brussels, 10 March 2008
Commissioner Meglena Kuneva today presented the first ever EU Consumer Champion award, in the run up to European Consumer Day on 15 March. The top prize went to Finland for a dynamic web-game designed to teach young consumers about their rights and responsibilities as online shoppers. Ireland, UK, Hungary, Estonia and Norway also received special category awards for campaigns which excelled in promoting consumer rights in an innovative and effective way. The European winner was selected from the best national consumer campaigns, which covered topics as diverse as financial services, air passenger rights, SMS loans, online shopping, food information and children as consumers. Commissioner Kuneva will be joined by all of the national winners for an official award ceremony in the Galeries de la Reine (Brussels city centre) this afternoon, where there will be a press point (14.00) and public exhibition of all the campaigns.
Commissioner Kuneva said: "As we approach European Consumer Day, I have a message for Europe's 490 million consumers: "You have clear-cut rights and you should not hesitate to use them. It is consumers who drive the market. It is consumers who boost competition. So, do not be afraid to choose, to switch, to question and to seek redress. I am delighted that so much effort is being made in the Member States to promote this message, as is evident through these extremely impressive campaigns."
Finding the outstanding national campaigns
In preparation for Consumer Day, Member States (and Norway and Iceland) were invited to hold national competitions for the best consumer campaign of the year, and to submit the winners to the Commission for the European "grand final". This EU-wide competition was a chance to give due recognition to work done by national and independent organisations to promote consumer rights. It also provided an opportunity for Member States to pin-point the most relevant consumer issues for their citizens, and to share ideas on how to raise awareness of consumer rights. The competitions were coordinated at national level by the European Consumer Centres (ECC). The winning campaigns were those that broadly reflected the message that consumers should "know their rights and use their rights" in their daily transactions. At the same time, an impressive range of topics and approaches were used to convey this message.
European Consumer Champions
The European winners were chosen by an independent panel, on the basis of their high level of originality, and the pertinence and effectiveness of their campaigns.
First prize went to Finland (the Finnish Consumer Agency) for "Galactor and the Code-breakers". This campaign aimed at educating young adults about consumer rights and responsibilities, particularly concerning internet and mobile shopping, through a modern and stimulating web-game. The success of this campaign resulted in its spread to a number of other Member States.
The UK campaign won "most original" prize with its "Consumer Challenge Quiz", created to help young people with learning difficulties to become better informed and more confident consumers. Ireland received "best financial campaign" for the high profile promotion of a personal finance website, designed to assist consumers in making more informed personal finance decisions. "Best children's prize" went to Hungary, for a nation-wide drawing competition for primary schools which set 3 consumer issues as the themes. The judging Panel also gave special merit prizes to Norway for its "iTunes" campaign and to Estonia for the "Make Responsible Credit Decisions" campaign, which was run by an independent bank.
Celebrating Consumer Day with consumers
Commissioner Kuneva will open a public exhibition of all of the national
campaigns in the Galeries de la Reine (Brussels city centre) with a short
press point at 14.00 today. The exhibition will remain in place from
10-11th March, so that "real-life" shoppers can enjoy and learn from
the messages that the campaigns convey. The Commissioner will also present the
European winners with their awards at an official ceremony which will be
attended by various stakeholders in the Galeries this afternoon.