August 4, 2021

Brussels wants more control over Chinese products and tackle ‘green washes’ and planned obsolescence

The European Commission launched a new Consumer Agenda this Friday, which seeks to “empower European consumers to play an active role in the green and digital transitions,” says Brussels: “The agenda also addresses how to increase protection and consumer resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting the daily lives of consumers. ”

In this sense, Brussels “presents priorities for the next five years at European and national level, among them a new legal proposal with the aim of providing better information on sustainability to consumers, adapting existing legislation to digital transformation, as well as an action plan on product safety with China. ”

The European Commission recognizes that “either by scams on-line or trips canceled, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting consumers a lot. “Thus, the Community Executive” will continue to address consumer scams, and will continue to guarantee the protection of travelers and the rights of EU passengers in case of cancellations “.

More protection for consumers

The new Consumer Agenda of the European Commission encompasses a series of EU initiatives from 2020 to 2025 focused on several areas.

Green transition. The European Commission “aims to ensure that consumers have sustainable products and better information in order to make an informed decision when buying.” Thus, in 2021 Brussels will present a proposal to provide consumers with “better information on the sustainability of products to fight against practices such as green washing or early obsolescence”.

The Community Executive also says that it will promote “repairs and promote more sustainable products and circular “.

“The green transition cannot happen without companies,” says the European Commission, “determined to work with economic operators to further their commitments in support of sustainable consumption, beyond what is required by law.”

Digital transformation. The European Commission says it wants to tackle “commercial practices on-line that ignore the right of consumers to make an informed decision, abuse their behavioral biases or distort their decision-making processes, such as undercover advertising. ”

Thus, the European Commission “will review the European directive related to product safety: it is necessary to strengthen consumer protection with respect to the digitization of retail financial services, so the directives on consumer credit and marketing of financial services”.

Consumer rights. While the enforcement of consumer rights is the responsibility of member states, the European Commission says it will “assist member states in applying and enforcing consumer law, including through the cooperation network on consumer protection and support national authorities, for example by deploying an electronic toolkit to strengthen the capacity of national authorities to tackle illegal business practices on-line and identify unsafe products. ”

Brussels recognizes that certain groups of consumers in certain situations may be “particularly vulnerable”, for example children, the elderly or people with disabilities. Thus, it undertakes to study “the requirements for standards for childcare products”; and in relation to those with financial vulnerabilities, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission “will increase funding to improve debt advice in Member States.”

International cooperation. The European Commission announces that it will develop “an action plan with China to improve the safety of products sold on-line”. Starting in 2021, the EU Executive says it will give “regulatory support, technical assistance and capacity building in neighboring regions of the EU, such as Africa.”


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