The European Union has successfully created an internal market with free circulation of goods and services for the benefit of consumers, among others. To enable consumers anywhere in the EU to buy safe products and services under clear conditions and with no hidden surprises, the EU has adopted a legal framework for consumer policy. The legislative and other measures are intended to promote the interests, health and safety of consumers in the internal market, ensure consumer concerns are taken properly into account in all EU policies and complement national consumer policy in the Member States.
On the one hand, manufacturers are responsible for placing only safe products on the market. If they are not based in the EU, this obligation applies to their representative there or the importer. No product available to consumers may present any risk, or at least no more than the minimum risk consistent with using the product under normal or foreseeable conditions. On the other hand, consumers must as far as possible proactively keep themselves informed about the safety of the products they buy.
The EU actively promotes high consumer safety standards and supports consumer organisations, to enhance the role of consumer representatives in decision making. Making the European citizens aware of their rights is one of its major goals. Education and awareness raising are therefore essential activities and need to be addressed in cooperation with the national authorities.