21 April 2021

EU green finance plans risk becoming greenwashing tool for climate-harming investments

The EU Taxonomy – the bloc’s classification system to define which investments can be called ‘sustainable’ – risks becoming little more than a greenwashing tool following the inclusion of climate-harming practices in sectors like forestry and bio energy. These plans are set to undermine the EU’s Green Deal – supposed to make the EU a frontrunner in the climate fight – and prevent Europe delivering on its climate goals.
02 April 2021
16 December 2020

European Commission’s ‘non-performing loans’ plans to leave consumers vulnerable to ‘vulture funds’

The European Commission today unveiled an Action Plan to tackle ‘non-performing loans’ (NPLs) in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. NPLs - loans subject to late repayment or unlikely to be repaid -are expected to rise sharply once measures to support households and businesses put in place during the pandemic come to an end.

Our work areas

Across the EU, consumers are left with serious concerns about the future of their personal deposits, savings, loans and pensions – a problem aggravated by the economic crisis. This same crisis has shown that financial supervision authorities were incapable of detecting the risks of evermore complex products accurately and adopting the necessary measures to avoid this crisis. Therefore, it is essential to restore consumer confidence, and protect all European consumers at national and cross-border level.

Since the crisis, the EU has focused on stabilising the financial sector. We believe that regulation to better protect consumers is long overdue. This is particularly the case in the area of financial advice where consumers are frequently misled and sold products they do not need, or that are unnecessarily risky.

EU consumers are too often presented with increasingly complex and poor value-for-money products that do not meet their requirements. Today retail finance ranks rock bottom in terms of trust among the services that consumers use on markets.

Investors should be able to get understandable, correct product information when they are looking to invest their money into a project.

Digitalisation has opened the door to new financial services, such as fintechs, which are challenging existing banking and payment models, investments and insurances. These changes offer consumers exciting new opportunities but it is important these new services are properly regulated so consumers are protected. Consumers expect banking and payment services to be secure, affordable, and accessible with a high level of data protection.

Another important development driven by digitalisation - financial firms increasingly use big data, for various purposes like marketing, price-setting and personalisation of financial offers. While this evolution comes with some potential benefits for consumers, such as better targeted offers, it also triggers huge questions on privacy, fairness, and exclusion.  

Good legislation which protects consumers is insufficient to ensure strong consumer protection unless it is properly enforced everywhere in the EU. However, national supervision in financial services varies a lot from one Member State to another, leading too often to poor consumer protection. We want to see higher levels of consumer protection everywhere in the EU.

Our objectives

  • Strengthen regulation and supervision for retail financial services
  • Make essential payment services efficient, fair, affordable and secure
  • Push the EU to legislate on FinTechs so that consumers are protected to a high standard when they use these services
  • Ensure information on financial services is easy to understand and comparable – also across borders – and that advice on financial services is affordable and reliable
  • Advocate for financial services suitable for those who buy them
  • Push retail finance to offer a simple, standardised product as the default option in every product category
  • Prevent consumer discrimination and exclusion due to the growing use of big data by financial firms.
  • Make sure that growing digitalisation does not lead to financial exclusion of certain categories of consumers.

Contact Card

The European Consumer Organisation
Europäischer Verbraucherverband
Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs

Rue d'Arlon, 80 Bte 1 
B - 1040 Bruxelles

Tel: +32 2 743 15 90
E-mail:

Financial Services Officerpicture
Financial Services Officer
Jasper De Meyer
Special Advisorpicture
Special Advisor
Jean Allix
Financial Services Officerpicture
Financial Services Officer
Déborah Faure
Sustainable Finance Officerpicture
Sustainable Finance Officer
Bryan Coughlan
Senior Communications Officerpicture
Senior Communications Officer
Andrew Canning