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Food and Feed Safety (22-05-2012)

A new European Consumer Agenda – Boosting confidence and growth by putting consumers at the heart of the Single Market

Brussels, 22 May 2012 - Consumer expenditure, amounting to 56% of EU GDP, reflects the enormous power of the consumer to drive forward the European economy. Only empowered and confident consumers can fully exploit the potential of the Single Market and enhance innovation and growth. This is why the European Commission's strategic vision for EU consumer policy for the years to come - adopted today - aims to maximise consumer participation and trust in the market. Built around four main objectives the EuropeanConsumer Agenda aims to increase confidence by: reinforcing consumer safety; enhancing knowledge; stepping up enforcement and securing redress; aligning consumer rights and policies to changes in society and in the economy. It also presents a number of key actions to be implemented between now and 2014.

"Growth in the European Union needs both competitive supply and strong demand. Consumers therefore must be as much centre stage of EU policies as businesses. We need confident consumers to drive forward the European economy", said Viviane Reding, Commission Vice-President and the EU's Justice Commissioner. "We want to stimulate cross-border shopping online, and this is why the EU and its Member States need to bring consumer rights into the digital age. We have taken first steps with the Consumer Rights Directive and with the proposal for modernised data protection rules to boost consumer confidence online. As a next step, the Commission plans to modernise the EU's package travel rules of 1990 to take into account that more and more people now book their holidays on the web. However, it takes more than new laws to make the digital single market work for consumers. Member States need to step up the swift and non-bureaucratic implementation of EU rules so that consumer rights become a concrete reality for our 500 million consumers. "

"In the current economic context a strong consumer policy is a necessity. Empowering Europe's 500 million consumers will be a key contribution to growth in the European economy," said Health and Consumer policy Commissioner John Dalli. "The strategy adopted today aims to empower consumers and build their confidence by giving them the tools to participate actively in the market, to make it work for them, to exercise their power of choice and to have their rights properly enforced. We will do so for instance by revising the EU framework for ensuring that products and food on the Single Market are safe, by steping up enforcement of EU consumer laws in close cooperation with national authorities, by providing more support to consumers shopping cross-border through the European Consumer Centres, and by ensuring that consumer interests are more systematically integrated into EU policies of key economic importance for households."