At the end of 2020, the European Commission launched the New Consumer Agenda for the next five years. The aim of this agenda is to empower European consumers to make informed choices and play an active role in the ecological and digital transition wherever they are in the European Union.
The New Consumer Agenda sets out a vision for EU consumer policy for the period 2020 to 2025. This policy focuses on five main priority areas:
(1) the ecological transition;
(2) digital transformation;
(3) remedies and respect for consumer rights;
(4) the specific needs of certain consumer groups; and
(5) international cooperation.
The ecological transition is a major concern for consumers, who are worried about negative effects on the environment and premature obsolescence. In particular, the Commission has taken into account the need to adopt measures that give "every consumer, irrespective of his or her financial situation, the ability and the means to act and provide him or her with the necessary support to play an active role in the ecological transition without imposing a specific mode and without social discrimination".
In particular, the Commission has identified the following actions to be taken:
- In 2021, the Commission plans to present a legislative proposal to empower consumers to participate in the ecological transition by better informing them about the sustainability of products and ensuring better protection against certain practices such as greenwashing and premature obsolescence, as well as a legislative proposal on the substantiation of environmental claims based on environmental footprinting methods.
- The Commission plans to work with economic operators to encourage them to voluntarily commit to actions for sustainable consumption that go beyond legal obligations.
- From 2022 onwards, the Commission will consider, in the context of the revision of the Sales of Goods Directive, how to further promote repair and encourage more sustainable 'circular' products.
The Commission will present the initiatives announced in the Agenda in a wide-ranging dialogue with all interested parties on priorities and actions to be taken, as well as on the methods of cooperation to be put in place to promote consumer protection in the years to come.