BETA


2004/2157(INI) The promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead IMCO KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam (icon: PSE PSE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 052

Events

2006/03/13
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2006/01/12
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2005/12/15
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2005/12/15
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report drafted by Henrik Dam KRISTENSEN (PES, DK) on the promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States. The resolution was adopted by 512 votes in favour to 22 against with 10 abstentions. (Please see the summary of 22/11/2005.) Parliament stated that the internal market would not function properly if consumers are less well protected in some Member States than they are in others. A high common level of consumer protection across the Member States will promote cross-border transactions and will ensure that consumers take advantage of the internal market.

Legislative framework: Whilst the new Member States have a good record in terms of transposition of the acquis communautaire, Community legislation must also be effectively applied in practice and enforced. Parliament called for the strengthening of market surveillance structures in the new Member States so that products and services circulating on their Strengthening consumer protection for children and other vulnerable groups should be a particular focus. Parliament also called on the Commission to help improve the performance of, and coordination between, supervisory bodies in both the old and the new Member States, including cross-border mutual cooperation between them.

Consumer culture: T he creation of a "consumer culture" based on a higher level of consumer awareness is essential for better enforcement and application of the existing legal framework. Parliament underlined the vital role that consumer organisations, consumer protection authorities and business organisations play in strengthening this consumer culture, and called on the Commission to draw up a specific strategy to encourage the development of a consumer culture in the new Member States.

Consumer organisations: T he Commission is asked to assess the possibility of defining parameters at Community level for what is meant by a "representative consumer association or organisation", to ensure that consumers in the EU are properly and independently represented. The old Member States must continue their commitment to support consumer organisations, and new Member States are asked to ensure that consumer organisations, which are representative, are adequately financed, whilst still having their independence. The requirements fixed by the Commission for obtaining grant support are strict and difficult to meet for consumer organisations in the new Member States and the Commission is asked to examine whether these requirements could not be made more flexible, including whether the work of volunteers could be regarded as being part of the financial contribution. Parliament emphasised that strong and independent consumer organisations provide the basis for an effective consumer policy, and felt that individual consumer organisations must be strengthened financially, and objective and publicly available assessments of the quality of their performance must be produced.

Business organisations: Parliament e ncouraged business organisations in the new Member States to work closely with consumer organisations and to establish voluntary standards of ethical business practices with transparent and effective enforcement procedures, consumer and business educational programmes and fair and effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. The new Member States should encourage and support these initiatives.

Consumer protection authorities: T he lack of a well-functioning administration in the field of consumer protection, as seen in some of the new Member States, is a serious obstacle to securing a high level of consumer protection. Member States’ consumer protection authorities, business organisations and consumer organisations should work in close cooperation to promote consumer protection, since the smooth running of the market is in the interests of all parties concerned.

Consumer information: Parliament made various suggestions about providing information to consumers. C onsumer awareness should be given a higher priority in school curricula throughout Europe, and start-up funds be made available to those centres that provide consumers with cross-border information between old and new Member States, particularly in border regions. New Member States must strengthen the provision of information to consumers and businesses regarding their rights and the existing legal framework on consumer policy, in particular by putting in place user-friendly web portals as well as awareness-raising campaigns, surveys, conferences, and information points using national and regional networks.

Dispute resolution: Parliament c alled on the Commission and the new Member States to extend the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) by involving independent consumer organisations in order to provide consumers with information on available ADR schemes, as well as legal advice and practical help in pursuing complaints by these means. Parliament suggested that the Commission undertake a comprehensive study on the existence and functioning of ADR organisations to identify the need for other initiatives and support at EU level, which could supplement ECC-Net and which could also be better targeted at the specific situation of the new Member States.

Documents
2005/12/15
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2005/12/13
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2005/11/30
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2005/11/30
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Documents
2005/11/22
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The committee adopted the own-initiative report by Henrik Dam KRISTENSEN (PES, DK) on the promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States. It began by pointing out that consumer protection was a "relatively new concern" in the ten new EU countries, and concluded that the creation of a ‘consumer culture’ based on a higher level of consumer awareness was essential for better enforcement and application of the existing legal framework . The report stressed that the internal market would not function properly as long as consumers were less well protected in some Member States than they were in others, and called on the Commission to draw up a specific strategy to encourage the development of a consumer culture in the new Member States. While welcoming the good record of those countries in terms of transposing existing Community legislation into their legal systems, MEPs called on their governments "to identify means by which consumer legislation may be effectively applied and enforced in practice". They also called for market surveillance structures to be strengthened in order to ensure high safety standards and the rapid removal of any defective or dangerous products.

The report noted that the new Member States' consumer protection authorities also had a key role to play in creating a 'consumer culture' and urged those countries to develop and strengthen their administrative systems in this field. The committee also stressed the role of consumer organisations in ensuring proper, independent representation of consumers in the EU, but pointed out that in the new Member States non-governmental, non-profit-making organisations often did not have the necessary own capital, that fundraising was not adequately developed, and that consumers themselves were unwilling to contribute to such organisations out of their own pockets "on account of the enduring belief that the state alone is responsible for protecting consumers". MEPs also observed that Commission requirements for obtaining project grants were "strict and difficult to meet" for such under-funded organisations, and called on the Commission to examine whether such criteria could be made more flexible. Parliament and the Council, as the budgetary authorities, were encouraged to devote more money to enhancing consumer protection in the new Member States.

The Commission was also urged to support awareness-raising campaigns and training programmes for consumer organisations and their staff. One such campaign should be aimed at preparing consumers for the adoption of the Euro in the new Member States, building on both the positive and negative experiences of the adoption of the Euro among the old Member States. MEPs also underlined the need for cooperation between organisations in the new and the old Member States - be it through twinning projects, mentoring projects or other knowledge-sharing programmes.

Lastly, the report recommended that the new Member States widen the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms by developing state-supported mechanisms and encouraging the establishment of private complaint boards in specific sectors.

2005/10/21
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2005/05/31
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2004/10/28
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2004/09/27
   EP - KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam (PSE) appointed as rapporteur in IMCO

Documents

Votes

Rapport Kristensen A6-0378/2005 - résolution

2005/12/15 Outcome: +: 512, -: 22, 0: 10
DE FR IT ES GB PL PT NL AT HU CZ BE EL DK SK IE FI LV LT SI SE LU MT CY EE
Total
77
57
46
44
53
49
20
22
16
16
18
16
16
12
12
11
10
7
7
5
15
5
4
3
3
icon: PPE-DE PPE-DE
199

Denmark PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Latvia PPE-DE

2
2

Slovenia PPE-DE

3

Luxembourg PPE-DE

3

Malta PPE-DE

For (1)

1

Cyprus PPE-DE

2

Estonia PPE-DE

For (1)

1
icon: PSE PSE
157

Hungary PSE

3

Czechia PSE

2

Slovakia PSE

2

Ireland PSE

1

Lithuania PSE

For (1)

1

Slovenia PSE

For (1)

1

Estonia PSE

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
59

Austria ALDE

1

Hungary ALDE

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Latvia ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

1

Sweden ALDE

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Cyprus ALDE

For (1)

1

Estonia ALDE

For (1)

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
35

Italy Verts/ALE

2

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Sweden Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
25

France GUE/NGL

3

Spain GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

United Kingdom GUE/NGL

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

3

Netherlands GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Greece GUE/NGL

Abstain (1)

1

Ireland GUE/NGL

1

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Sweden GUE/NGL

1
icon: UEN UEN
23

Denmark UEN

For (1)

1

Ireland UEN

3

Lithuania UEN

1
icon: NI NI
25

United Kingdom NI

For (1)

Against (2)

3

Austria NI

1

Czechia NI

Against (1)

1

Belgium NI

Abstain (1)

1
icon: IND/DEM IND/DEM
21

Italy IND/DEM

Abstain (1)

2
5

Netherlands IND/DEM

2

Czechia IND/DEM

1

Denmark IND/DEM

1

Sweden IND/DEM

3

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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committee_full
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
committee
IMCO
rapporteur
name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 group: Socialist Group in the European Parliament abbr: PSE
committees/0
type
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EP
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committee_full
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
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IMCO
date
2004-09-27T00:00:00
rapporteur
name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam group: Socialist Group in the European Parliament abbr: PSE
docs/2/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-6-2005-0378_EN.html
docs/3/body
EC
docs/4/body
EC
events/2/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-6-2005-0378_EN.html
events/5/docs/0/url
Old
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2005-526
New
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-6-2005-0526_EN.html
activities
  • date: 2004-10-28T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: IMCO date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam
  • date: 2005-11-22T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: IMCO date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
  • date: 2005-11-30T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0378/2005 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2005-12-13T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20051213&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2005-12-15T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=4401&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2005-526 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0526/2005 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
committees/0
type
Responsible Committee
body
EP
associated
False
committee_full
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
committee
IMCO
date
2004-09-27T00:00:00
rapporteur
name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam group: Socialist Group in the European Parliament abbr: PSE
committees/0
body
EP
responsible
True
committee
IMCO
date
2004-09-27T00:00:00
committee_full
Internal Market and Consumer Protection
rapporteur
group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam
docs
  • date: 2005-05-31T00:00:00 docs: title: PE359.904 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2005-10-21T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/commissions/imco/amendments/2005/364756/IMCO_AM(2005)364756_FR.pdf title: PE364.756 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2005-11-30T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN title: A6-0378/2005 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP
  • date: 2006-01-12T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=4401&j=1&l=en title: SP(2006)0053 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
  • date: 2006-03-13T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=4401&j=0&l=en title: SP(2006)0453 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2004-10-28T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2005-11-22T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP summary: The committee adopted the own-initiative report by Henrik Dam KRISTENSEN (PES, DK) on the promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States. It began by pointing out that consumer protection was a "relatively new concern" in the ten new EU countries, and concluded that the creation of a ‘consumer culture’ based on a higher level of consumer awareness was essential for better enforcement and application of the existing legal framework . The report stressed that the internal market would not function properly as long as consumers were less well protected in some Member States than they were in others, and called on the Commission to draw up a specific strategy to encourage the development of a consumer culture in the new Member States. While welcoming the good record of those countries in terms of transposing existing Community legislation into their legal systems, MEPs called on their governments "to identify means by which consumer legislation may be effectively applied and enforced in practice". They also called for market surveillance structures to be strengthened in order to ensure high safety standards and the rapid removal of any defective or dangerous products. The report noted that the new Member States' consumer protection authorities also had a key role to play in creating a 'consumer culture' and urged those countries to develop and strengthen their administrative systems in this field. The committee also stressed the role of consumer organisations in ensuring proper, independent representation of consumers in the EU, but pointed out that in the new Member States non-governmental, non-profit-making organisations often did not have the necessary own capital, that fundraising was not adequately developed, and that consumers themselves were unwilling to contribute to such organisations out of their own pockets "on account of the enduring belief that the state alone is responsible for protecting consumers". MEPs also observed that Commission requirements for obtaining project grants were "strict and difficult to meet" for such under-funded organisations, and called on the Commission to examine whether such criteria could be made more flexible. Parliament and the Council, as the budgetary authorities, were encouraged to devote more money to enhancing consumer protection in the new Member States. The Commission was also urged to support awareness-raising campaigns and training programmes for consumer organisations and their staff. One such campaign should be aimed at preparing consumers for the adoption of the Euro in the new Member States, building on both the positive and negative experiences of the adoption of the Euro among the old Member States. MEPs also underlined the need for cooperation between organisations in the new and the old Member States - be it through twinning projects, mentoring projects or other knowledge-sharing programmes. Lastly, the report recommended that the new Member States widen the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms by developing state-supported mechanisms and encouraging the establishment of private complaint boards in specific sectors.
  • date: 2005-11-30T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN title: A6-0378/2005
  • date: 2005-12-13T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20051213&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2005-12-15T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=4401&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2005-12-15T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2005-526 title: T6-0526/2005 summary: The European Parliament adopted a resolution based on the own-initiative report drafted by Henrik Dam KRISTENSEN (PES, DK) on the promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States. The resolution was adopted by 512 votes in favour to 22 against with 10 abstentions. (Please see the summary of 22/11/2005.) Parliament stated that the internal market would not function properly if consumers are less well protected in some Member States than they are in others. A high common level of consumer protection across the Member States will promote cross-border transactions and will ensure that consumers take advantage of the internal market. Legislative framework: Whilst the new Member States have a good record in terms of transposition of the acquis communautaire, Community legislation must also be effectively applied in practice and enforced. Parliament called for the strengthening of market surveillance structures in the new Member States so that products and services circulating on their Strengthening consumer protection for children and other vulnerable groups should be a particular focus. Parliament also called on the Commission to help improve the performance of, and coordination between, supervisory bodies in both the old and the new Member States, including cross-border mutual cooperation between them. Consumer culture: T he creation of a "consumer culture" based on a higher level of consumer awareness is essential for better enforcement and application of the existing legal framework. Parliament underlined the vital role that consumer organisations, consumer protection authorities and business organisations play in strengthening this consumer culture, and called on the Commission to draw up a specific strategy to encourage the development of a consumer culture in the new Member States. Consumer organisations: T he Commission is asked to assess the possibility of defining parameters at Community level for what is meant by a "representative consumer association or organisation", to ensure that consumers in the EU are properly and independently represented. The old Member States must continue their commitment to support consumer organisations, and new Member States are asked to ensure that consumer organisations, which are representative, are adequately financed, whilst still having their independence. The requirements fixed by the Commission for obtaining grant support are strict and difficult to meet for consumer organisations in the new Member States and the Commission is asked to examine whether these requirements could not be made more flexible, including whether the work of volunteers could be regarded as being part of the financial contribution. Parliament emphasised that strong and independent consumer organisations provide the basis for an effective consumer policy, and felt that individual consumer organisations must be strengthened financially, and objective and publicly available assessments of the quality of their performance must be produced. Business organisations: Parliament e ncouraged business organisations in the new Member States to work closely with consumer organisations and to establish voluntary standards of ethical business practices with transparent and effective enforcement procedures, consumer and business educational programmes and fair and effective Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes. The new Member States should encourage and support these initiatives. Consumer protection authorities: T he lack of a well-functioning administration in the field of consumer protection, as seen in some of the new Member States, is a serious obstacle to securing a high level of consumer protection. Member States’ consumer protection authorities, business organisations and consumer organisations should work in close cooperation to promote consumer protection, since the smooth running of the market is in the interests of all parties concerned. Consumer information: Parliament made various suggestions about providing information to consumers. C onsumer awareness should be given a higher priority in school curricula throughout Europe, and start-up funds be made available to those centres that provide consumers with cross-border information between old and new Member States, particularly in border regions. New Member States must strengthen the provision of information to consumers and businesses regarding their rights and the existing legal framework on consumer policy, in particular by putting in place user-friendly web portals as well as awareness-raising campaigns, surveys, conferences, and information points using national and regional networks. Dispute resolution: Parliament c alled on the Commission and the new Member States to extend the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) by involving independent consumer organisations in order to provide consumers with information on available ADR schemes, as well as legal advice and practical help in pursuing complaints by these means. Parliament suggested that the Commission undertake a comprehensive study on the existence and functioning of ADR organisations to identify the need for other initiatives and support at EU level, which could supplement ECC-Net and which could also be better targeted at the specific situation of the new Member States.
  • date: 2005-12-15T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
links
other
    procedure/dossier_of_the_committee
    Old
    IMCO/6/23426
    New
    • IMCO/6/23426
    procedure/legal_basis/0
    Rules of Procedure EP 052
    procedure/legal_basis/0
    Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052
    procedure/subject
    Old
    • 4.60 Consumers' protection in general
    New
    4.60
    Consumers' protection in general
    activities
    • date: 2004-10-28T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: IMCO date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam
    • date: 2005-11-22T00:00:00 body: EP committees: body: EP responsible: True committee: IMCO date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
    • date: 2005-11-30T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A6-2005-378&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A6-0378/2005 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
    • date: 2005-12-13T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20051213&type=CRE type: Debate in Parliament title: Debate in Parliament body: EP type: Debate in Parliament
    • date: 2005-12-15T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=4401&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P6-TA-2005-526 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T6-0526/2005 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
    committees
    • body: EP responsible: True committee: IMCO date: 2004-09-27T00:00:00 committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection rapporteur: group: PSE name: KRISTENSEN Henrik Dam
    links
    other
      procedure
      dossier_of_the_committee
      IMCO/6/23426
      reference
      2004/2157(INI)
      title
      The promotion and protection of consumers' interests in the new Member States
      legal_basis
      Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament EP 052
      stage_reached
      Procedure completed
      subtype
      Initiative
      type
      INI - Own-initiative procedure
      subject
      4.60 Consumers' protection in general