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Consumer Policy in the EU

Latest news on the consumer policies of the European Union.

Food Safety in the EU
The EU integrated approach to food safety aims to assure a high level of food safety, animal health, animal welfare and plant health within the European Union through coherent farm-to-table measures and adequate monitoring, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market.

Food Labelling in the EU
In the European Union, rules are put in place on the labelling of foodstuffs to enable European consumers to get comprehensive information on the contents and the composition of food products. Labelling helps consumers to make an informed choice while purchasing their foodstuffs.

Animal Welfare in the EU
With the support and close co-operation of the Member States, the European Commission has been promoting animal welfare for over 40 years gradually improving the lives of farm animals. An important step in 1998 was Council Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes which gave general rules for the protection of animals of all species kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes, including fish, reptiles or amphibians. These rules are based on the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes.

Data protection in the EU
Developments of a frontier free Internal Market and of the so called 'information society' increase the cross-frontier flows of personal data between Member States of the EU. In order to remove potential obstacles to such flows and to ensure a high level of protection within the EU, data protection legislation has been harmonised. The Commission also engages in dialogues with non-EU countries in order to insure a high level of protection when exporting personal data to those countries. It also initiates studies on the development on European and international level on the state of data protection.

European Food Law Association
The European Food Law Association (EFLA) is an international scientific association. Its essential goal is to study and to promote Food Law, as well as to contribute to its development and to its international harmonisation while taking into account its specificity, its interdisciplinary nature and its special function, the protection of the consumers.

EU Pharmaceuticals portal
Since 1985, a score of European Community directives have been adopted with the aim of achieving a single, EU-wide market for pharmaceuticals.

European cosmetics industry
The European cosmetics industry has a value of output of more than EUR 35 billion; is highly innovative, with major cosmetic companies replacing or reformulating around 25% of their products every year; and employs over 150.000 Europeans directly, with a further 350.000 jobs created indirectly in retail, distribution and transport. The main regulatory framework which aims at ensuring the free circulation of cosmetic products in the internal market and safeguarding the safety of cosmetic products placed on the EU-market is the Council Directive 76/768 of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products ("Cosmetics Directive").

Postal services
Overall in the EU, postal services are estimated to handle 135 billion items per year, reflecting a turnover of about EUR 88 billion or about 1% of Community Gross Domestic Product (DGP). About two-thirds of this turnover is generated by mail services. The reminder is generated by parcels and express services which are already in the competitive area (i.e., the market is fully open to competing operators). The Commission's aim is to accomplish the Single Market for postal services and ensure a high quality universal service, by opening up the sector to competition in a gradual and controlled way on the basis of the regulatory framework of the Postal Directive (Directive 97/67/EC as amended by Directive 2002/39/EC). The improvement of the quality of service, in particular in terms of delivery performance and convenient access are fundamental aspects of this policy.

Tobacco and EU public health
Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the European Union accounting for over half a million deaths each year and over a million deaths in Europe as a whole. It is estimated that 25% of all cancer deaths and 15% of all deaths in the Union could be attributed to smoking. In order to curb this epidemic, the European Community is actively developing a comprehensive tobacco control policy

Eco-label
The European Eco-label is a voluntary scheme enabling European consumers including public and private purchasers to easily identify officially approved green products across the European Union. It allows producers to show and communicate to their customers that their products respect the environment. A general description of the scheme is available as well as background information.

EU Directive on Dangerous Substances
Ehe EU Directive on Dangerous Substances was a response to a need to ensure the protection of public health, in particular the health of workers handling dangerous substances.

Safer Internet in the EU
The EU Safer Internet plus programme aims to promote safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end-user, as part of a coherent approach by the European Union.

Fighting Spam in Europe
Article 13(1) of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive requires Member States to prohibit the sending of unsolicited commercial communications by fax or e-mail or other electronic messaging systems such as SMS and MMS unless the prior consent of the addressee has been obtained (opt-in system).

Privacy Protection in the EU
The EU regulatory framework for electronic communications comprises a series of legal texts and associated measures that apply throughout the 25 EU Member States. The goals of the new framework are to encourage competition in the electronic communications markets, to improve the functioning of the internal market and to guarantee basic user interests that would not be guaranteed by market forces. The framework provides a set of rules that are simple, aimed at deregulation, technology neutral and sufficiently flexible to deal with fast changing markets in the electronic communications sector.

Digital Agenda for Europe
The Digital Agenda is Europe's strategy for a flourishing digital economy by 2020. It outlines policies and actions to maximise the benefit of the Digital Revolution for all. To achieve these goals, the Commission will work closely with national governments, concerned organisations and companies. An annual Digital Assembly will bring stakeholders together to assess progress and emerging challenges.

HELP - life without tobacco campaign
Young people, non-smokers and those wanting to quit can get help to lead a life without tobacco, according to a 4 year-EUR 72 million EU anti-smoking campaign launched on 1 March 2005. The campaign has been devised for the European Commission by a consortium of health experts and PR professionals.

European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net)
If you have a problem with a product you bought in another European country; if you want to check on your rights and what you are entitled to as a European consumer; if you have a complaint against a company or you are in a dispute with a trader - the network of European Consumer Centres is there to help with such questions and any other problems you may have concerning your activities as a consumer in Europe. The aim being that you should feel as confident when shopping in another country as you do at home.

Review of EU Timeshare Directive
Timeshare, within the meaning of the European Union Timeshare Directive, is the right to spend a period of time (e.g. one or more weeks) in a holiday property for a specified or specifiable period of the year for three years or longer.

Bathing water quality 2005
Annual report, 2005 bathing season: summary, country reports and map of beaches throughout Europe.

Eurobarometer
The web site for the Public Opinion Analysis sector of the European Commission. the European Commission has been monitoring the evolution of public opinion in the Member States, thus helping the preparation of texts, decision-making and the evaluation of its work. Surveys and studies address major topics concerning European citizenship, including EU enlargement, social situation, health, culture, information technology, environment, the Euro and defence.

Soft fruits for processing - EU report
In 2004, the market of several soft fruits and other red fruits intended for processing was in a situation of crisis with low producer prices. In the context of the discussions on the simplification of the Common Market Organisation for fruits and vegetables at the Council in November 2004, the Presidency requested the Commission to carry out an analysis of the situation of the sector and, if necessary, bring forward proposals to address specific problems.

Injuries in the EU - summary statistics 2002-2004
Health and Consumer Protection: Injuries in the EU - summary statistics 2002-2004