03/03/2014 - Citizens' Dialogue in Zagreb, Croatia.On 3 March Commissioner Mimica participated in the first Citizens' Dialogue to be organised in Croatia. Over 400 citizens from across Croatia attended the event in person with many others sending in questions via social media. The event was webstreamed live and broadcast in its entirety on national television that evening.
Commissioner Mimica attended the conference "Croatian consumer in the EU Single market" organised by the Croatian Ministry of Economy in Zagreb. In his keynote speech, the Commissioner presented his main priorities and recalled that consumer policy is an economic policy that brings benefits to both consumers and businesses. He also highlighted the importance of consumer organisations, whose empowerment is also one of his priorities.
Europe's "app economy" is booming. It employs over 1 million people and is expected to be worth €63bn in the next five years. According to the external app analytics platform Distimo, around 80% of the revenue – estimated at over 10 billion EUR per year – of one supplier comes from purchases made by consumers from within an application by which consumers access special content or features, commonly called "in-app" purchases. For the app economy to develop its full potential and continue innovating, consumers need to trust the products. At present over 50% of the EU online games' market consists of games advertised as “free”, although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases. Often consumers are not fully aware that they are spending money because their credit cards get charged by default.
The European Commission co-finances and co-ordinates the work of 30 European Consumer Centres throughout the EU, Norway and Iceland. Since 2010, these Centres had direct contacts with over 300 000 consumers, informing and assisting citizens with difficulties encountered in relation to cross border purchases. At the Stakeholder Event to promote the achievements of European Consumer Centres, Commissioner Mimica praised the a key role of the Centres in making the benefits of the European Union visible and tangible to citizens. Through the studies they publish and their daily work, the Centres are also an invaluable source of information on the most frequently raised consumer issues or on emerging threats to consumer rights.
As part of his visit to Berlin Commissioner Mimica met with Mr Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture and Mr Gerd Billen, State Secretary for Consumer Protection, as well as Ms Renate Künast and Ms Elisabeth Winkelmeyer-Becker of the Bundestag Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection. The visit provided an opportunity to discuss the priorities of the new German Government in the field of consumer policy and to share views on the future of consumer policy at EU level. Topics discussed included better enforcement of consumer protection legislation, product safety and medical devices.