Consumer PRO – Boosting professionals in consumer protection
BEUC has been entrusted by the European Commission to implement a capacity-building project with the objective to make consumer organisations and other actors in consumer policy stronger and better equipped to protect consumers in their country. The “Consumer PRO” project, which will run until July 2021, will include training and other capacity building activities in all EU member states as well as Iceland and Norway.
To ensure that this capacity building programme is tailored to the actual training needs of the target audience, a needs analysis will be performed in collaboration with the ConPolicy-Institute for Consumer Policy. It will allow to identify the different topics and skills that should be addressed in order to build up both the capacity and effectiveness of the European consumer movement. On that basis, a comprehensive programme as well as training resources and other useful tools will be developed. Trainers will be trained to support the organisation of off-line training courses at country level. Regional workshops and exchanges of best practices will be organised to maximise the impact of the project.
BEUC is coordinating the project Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty (STEP) which involves 9 BEUC members. The big idea of the project is to provide advice to vulnerable people with simple, concrete and cost-effective tips and measures so they can save on their energy bill. The project has received funding from the Horizon2020 funding programme.
What makes STEP unique is that national consumer organisations are teaming up with frontline worker groups, who already provide vulnerable citizens with advice on different issues such as household budget advice or health tips, to reach out to people in or at risk of energy poverty.
The project will last two-and-a-half years and the methodology is expected to be highly replicable in other EU countries. Partners will develop a number of different materials over the course of the project, including online and offline materials to train frontline workers on energy poverty issues, and reports looking at existing schemes that are sources of funding for energy efficiency measures.
The project covers some of the countries with the highest rates of energy poverty in Europe and involves the following members: BNAAC (Bulgaria), CCA (Cyprus), dTest (Czech Republic), LPIAA (Latvia), LVOA (Lithuania), Federacja Konsumentow (Poland), DECO (Portugal), SOS (Slovakia) and Citizens Advice (UK). ADE Research, a UK-based organisation, is the 11th organisation in the consortium. Its role is to analyse many of the results from the project.
BEUC, together with Eurochambres and UEAPME (the European association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), is running a new European Commission funded training project to boost consumer law competencies of EU’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
SMEs make up 99% of companies in the EU. This project develops and organises trainings on consumer rights for SMEs that offer their services and products online. The training project will involve SMEs from all 28 Member States in the 24 languages.
This is the first time SMEs and consumer representatives work together on a project. It is also the first project the European Parliament funds to train SMEs.
The content of the training courses includes:
- Pre-contractual information requirements
- Rights of withdrawal for distance and off premises contracts
- Remedies when products are defective
- Unfair commercial practices and unfair contract terms
- Alternative dispute resolution and ODR platform
The EU’s Ecodesign and energy labelling rules set energy performance, environmental impact and information requirements.
They can deliver major benefits for consumers and the environment. These benefits can be counted in terms of minimising the environmental impact of products, decreasing running costs for European households and improving the overall quality of products.
BEUC, together with our sister organisation ANEC, ensures the consumer voice is heard when Ecodesign criteria are established. We do this as member of the Consultation Forum which advices the European Commission.
As implementing the Ecodesign Framework Directive on specific product groups entails highly technical discussions, the Öko-Institut (the Institute for Applied Ecology) provides us with technical expertise tailor-made to consumer interests.
BEUC, together with its partners SIVECO and Dara Creative established the European Commission project on capacity building for consumer professionals known as Consumer Champion. In March 2018, the project was handed over to the European Commission.
The objective of the programme is to build up both the capacity and effectiveness of the European consumer movement in Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries. These are pursued while providing the resources and tools for consumer professionals to network and share knowledge, expertise and best practices. Appropriately, the guiding motto is “Learn. Share. Succeed”.
Three different activities were developed for the programme, namely:
- an internet –based networking platform
- e-learning modules
- local courses.
More information is available on the website: www.consumerchampion.eu
It is essential that consumers can get the medicines they need. Despite advances in medical science, it remains impossible for many people worldwide to access safe and effective medicines. Europe is no longer an exception. This programme ensures that the consumer has a voice in this debate and helps us to push decision-makers to implement a strong access to medicines policy in the EU.
The programme, supported by the Open Society Foundation, aims at ensuring the development of innovative, safe and affordable medicines for EU consumers.