Who we are
Consumers on the European stage
BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for its members and our main task is to represent them at European level and defend the interests of all Europe’s consumers.
BEUC investigates EU decisions and developments likely to affect consumers, with a special focus on five areas identified as priorities by our members: Financial Services, Food, Digital Rights, Consumer Rights & Enforcement and Sustainability.
For a quick summary of how we approach these areas and what we have achieved so far, consult this presentation.
To cope with these challenges the Secretariat has a staff of around 40.
BEUC’s strength: our members
Just like the EU itself, BEUC’s membership has grown, and our members now include 43 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 31 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC is acknowledged as a trustworthy representative by both decision-makers and opponents alike, thanks in particular to the collective skills, knowledge and expertise of our member organisations.
We work to ensure that consumer policy at EU level is sustainable for all; ‘sustainability’ not only meaning respect and protection of the environment, including climate change, but also reduction of negative social and economic impacts, while improving well-being for all, without compromising the needs of our children’s grand-children. This means that vulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and low income consumers, are taken into account when designing policy.
The concept of sustainability underpins all our campaigns and is also reflected in the day-to-day running of the Secretariat.
An international network
ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, our EU-level sister organisation, represents the European consumer interest in the creation of technical standards. BEUC is an associate member of the international consumer organisation, Consumers International (CI). Our aim, in close collaboration with Consumers International, is to ensure consumer concerns are taken into account also at global level. Another international sister organisation is ICRT, a global organisation active in the area of research and testing. BEUC also plays an active role in the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), which is designed to promote contacts and exchanges with our colleagues in the US.
Why the name?
A lot of people ask the same question! First of all, they’re not clear about what BEUC means (French name: Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs). Secondly, everyone pronounces it differently and it doesn’t exactly have a pleasant ring in any European language. People often ask us whether it wouldn’t be better to change the name. But, as an organisation of long repute, keeping our original name makes us instantly recognisable, so perhaps it’s not a good idea to change a winning formula. Instead, we tend to introduce ourselves as “BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation”. As for pronunciation, let’s just say it’s a question of consumer choice!