06 July 2021

EU sustainable finance plans overshadowed by labelling of gas as a ‘green investment’

Today, the European Commission proposed its Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, setting out how it intends to make the bloc’s financial system more sustainable. Despite some welcome initiatives, the Commission’s green investment labelling plans are heading dangerously in the wrong direction.
30 June 2021

Major Commission proposal to revamp Consumer Credit Directive to the benefit of consumers

Consumers are set to gain much-needed extra protections when they take out a loan, according to proposals the European Commission published today. With many consumers still feeling the financial effects of COVID-19, BEUC praises these added protections, which come just at the right time.
23 June 2021

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

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