Who we are
Consumers on the European stage
BEUC is the umbrella group for 44 independent consumer organisations from 32 countries. Our main role is to represent them to the EU institutions and defend the interests of European consumers. Our acronym originates from our French name, ‘Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs’.
Our daily work involves making sure the EU takes policy decisions that improve the lives of consumers. This covers a range of topics including competition, consumer rights, digital rights, energy, redress and enforcement, financial services, food, health, safety, sustainability and trade policy.
The BEUC secretariat is in Brussels and has a staff of around 45.
BEUC’s strength: our members
We were founded in 1962 by consumer groups from six Member States of, what was then, the European Economic Community (EEC). Nowadays our members are from all 27 EU Member States as well as Iceland, North Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. BEUC is acknowledged as a trustworthy representative by decision-makers, thanks in particular to the collective skills, knowledge and expertise of our member organisations.
We aim to make consumers confident in the European Single Market. To ensure this confidence, we strive for protection and choice as drivers of consumer markets. This means giving people access to impartial information, allowing them to have enforceable rights and to be aware of these rights, and providing redress options they can use when something goes wrong.
Consumer policy has addressed many challenges over the decades. Some remain today: unfair treatment, rip-offs, products that fall short of expectations or that are outright dangerous. New challenges have arisen too: the climate crisis, medicines becoming less available and affordable and the rise of artificial intelligence. Well thought-out EU policies are needed to address these challenges and improve the quality of life of current and future generations.
BEUC strongly advocates putting the consumer interest at the core of systemic changes in how we produce and consume, while ensuring vulnerable groups (children, the elderly and low-income groups) are taken into account.
An international network
BEUC is an associate member of Consumers International (CI) which defends consumers at the global policy-making level. Together with CI and our other sister organisations, we tackle all areas that impact consumers. ANEC represents European consumers in the creation of technical standards. ICRT is a global organisation active in research and testing.
We are also part of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), a forum of US and EU consumer organisations which makes joint policy recommendations to the US Government and the European Union.
Why the name?
A lot of people ask the same question! First of all, they may not be aware BEUC refers to our French acronym. 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!