Brussels, 23 September 2022
On Friday, September 23, ministers responsible for consumer protection met in Prague. During the meeting they discussed strengthening the enforceability of consumer law and the current challenges that European consumers have to face. The issue of protecting Ukrainians as vulnerable consumers was also part of the discussion.
„Managing the challenges and overcoming the crisis will require maximum effort of all of us. In this spirit, we looked into possible solutions in the field of consumer protection policy and law during our discussions with other ministers,” says the Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela.
An effective consumer protection policy makes a significant contribution to the proper functioning of the single market, as consumer protection rules and their enforcement have a considerable potential to improve the market environment and thereby stimulate the entire economy.
A key aspect to reinforcing consumer rights and ensuring the proper functioning of the market is market surveillance and the enforceability of consumer rights when exercising them, including cross-border enforcement.
„My colleagues and I agreed that just as businesses have the right to sell products and offer services to all consumers in the single market, consumers should be able to effectively assert and defend their rights against these businesses, regardless of where they are located” says Minister Síkela.
Another challenge faced by consumers and society that significantly affects the market is Russian aggression against Ukraine. Consumers are exposed to economic uncertainty, which is reflected in a declining demand. It is estimated that the decline in sales will continue next year. Falling demand causes a drop in merchants sales and a slowdown of the economic growth. At the same time, we have to deal with the consequences of the energy crisis, which has major economic impacts on households and businesses.
„We realize that without the help of governments, citizens cannot manage this situation by themselves. That’s why we discussed with other colleagues responsible for consumer protection how necessary it is to protect consumers from rising energy prices” adds the Minister, saying that help must be quick, effective and efficient. It should primarily reach those who need it most.
Source – EU Council