was produced by INRA (Europe) European Coordination
Office for Health & Consumer Protection DG and
represents INRA (Europe) European Coordination Office
views on the "Eurobarometer 47.1 - Consumer Policy."
These views have not been adopted or in any way approved
by the Commission and should not be relied upon as a
statement of the Commission's or Health & Consumer
Protection DG's views.
Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data
included in this survey, nor does it accept
responsibility for any use made thereof.
47.1 - Consumer Policy - Summary
This summary gives a brief preliminary
description of the results of the EB 47.1 at the European
level. A deeper analysis will be undertaken before
These results should be treated with
care as there might be large differences in the results
between the individual countries as well as questions
that generated high DK percentages.
The percentages reported are generally
the highest percentages that were found.
- When interviewed about the evolution
of the quality of food, European citizens highlighted
The quality of fresh meat tends to get
Bread and bakery products tend to
- The information provided by
supermarkets and shops is mostly in the interest of
consumers, 37%, whereas that of producer groups is mostly
in the interest of the industry, 55%. Scientist are most
often thought to tell the truth about the quality of
- Current levels of human activity
need to be very significantly changed if the general
deterioration of the environment is to be stopped, 66%.
Economic development must be ensured, but the environment
protected at the same time, 71%. Factories releasing
dangerous chemical products into the air or water is most
often mentioned as cause of serious danger to the
environment, 68%. 88% supports the proposal to implement
tougher legislation to control companies which pollute
the environment, as a way to deal with environmental
- European citizens are aware of the
role of the EU in the definition of strict rules with
regard to product labelling - 33%. EU citizens urge the
adoption of measures to ensure that every European
citizen has an easy access to the legal system in other
Member States in case of consumer problems.
- The main problem of dissatisfied
consumers is that they are not well aware of their rights
- 51% and the cost of taking legal action against someone
is too high for them, - 50%.
- On the question of education, EU
citizens think that :
a) Schools prepare children for
- fairly well, 42%
- fairly badly, 34%
b) The EU could play a role in
educating consumers by publishing information on
consumers rights within the EU, 60%
- Europeans are particularly concerned
with the safety of food - 68% and medicines - 67%. The
vast majority is convinced that electrical appliances are
safe, 74% and more than one third thinks food is not
safe, 35%. Especially in advertising, not enough
attention is drawn to the safety of products and services
for the consumer - 67%.
- The questions on services of public
utility show that for 80% of EU citizens the electricity
supply in their country is of good quality, whereas 34%
finds courts and justice of bad quality.
- The questionnaire analysed deeply
the question of liberalisation : 61% of the Europeans is
aware of the opening to competition of a number of
services, although for most of the services mentioned
(except telephone services and air travel) the vast
majority of the respondents has not seen any price cuts,
improvement of the quality, a wider choice of services,
or an improvement of consumers interests protection. More
than 70% considers the opening to competition a good
thing with regard to both quality and price of the
- In the frame of the analysis on
liberalisation, particular care was paid to the minimum
EU citizens consider that the
following services should be guaranteed to
- water 88%
- electricity 80%
- collection of household rubbish
- Two thirds of the Europeans think
the EU should try to forbid the sale of bad quality
products in Third countries.
- The large space of the questionnaire
devoted to the EURO shows that four fifths of the
Europeans would like to be better informed about the
reasons and advantages of the single currency in Europe.
And about half the respondents thinks that with the
single currency Europe will be more economically
competitive world-wide and more politically powerful. The
highest proportion of respondents feels that the
financial institutions should pay for the transition
through their profits, 45%.
- When asked about consumer protection
standards, three quarters of the interviewed say that
these should be harmonised in the EU.
- On financial services, 38% of EU
citizens consider the lack of information an obstacle
preventing consumers from using them anywhere in the EU.
Cash is the preferred method for paying for important
purchases both within and outside the EU, because it is
considered to be a more convenient method of
86% has never made a long distance
payment (via a computer, minitel, etc.)
4% has, without using a
8% has, with using a pin-code
More than half the respondents have
never had the opportunity to pay this way and more than a
quarter is not interested in paying this way.
More than half the respondents would
not be ready to use a pre-paid card both in their own
country as in foreign countries.
Finally, 81% of the European citizens
say it is necessary to take measures in the EU to protect
consumers in the financial services sector.
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