Following a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer authorities (CPC network), Edreams ODIGEO, Etraveli Group and Kiwi.com committed to better inform consumers of their rights in case of flight cancellations by airlines and to transfer ticket refunds within seven days after receiving them from the airlines, meaning that consumers should receive them after a total of 14 days.

Under EU passenger rights, airlines cancelling a flight are required to refund tickets within seven days once the passenger has opted to have the flight reimbursed. However, airline tickets can also be bought through an intermediary (an ‘online travel agency’).  As a result of this dialogue, the three major European airline intermediaries provide clarity for such cases: consumers will receive their refund within 14 days maximum. This step also helps create a fair and level playing field within the travel airline industry.

This action complements a previous dialogue with 16 major European airlines that resulted in those airlines committing to respect the 7-day time limit for reimbursements, and reimbursing over 500,000 flight vouchers that they had imposed on consumers following flight cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 dialogue with the airlines had cast a spotlight on additional delays experienced by consumers when cancelled tickets had been purchased through an intermediary.

Overview of commitments

The online travel agencies concerned by the action are: eDreams ODIGEO (with brands such as eDreams, Opodo, Go Voyages, Travellink, and Liligo); Etraveli Group (with brands such as Mytrip, GotoGate, Flybillet, Flightnetwork, Supersavetravel, seat24 and Travelstart); and Kiwi.com. The action originally also addressed Otravo that, however, ceased operations in December 2022.

Following the dialogue, the online travel agencies made the following commitments:

  • In case of cancelled flights, the online travel agencies will transfer refunds from the airline on to the consumer within 7 days from the day the online travel agency receives the refund from the airline. This will result in a refund in 14 days for consumers having bought their ticket through an online travel agency. Remaining backlogs in transferring refunds received from airlines have been or will be cleared by 30 June 2023 at the latest.
  • The online travel agencies’ telephone number and e-mail address will be provided in or via the support or ‘contact us’ sections of their websites – so that consumers can communicate with them also via e-mail or telephone.
  • Information on the specific benefits linked to different service packages offered by the online travel agencies will be made clearer for consumers.
  • Consumers will be clearly informed about their statutory rights under the Air Passenger Rights Regulation to rerouting or reimbursement in cases where the airline cancels their flights. They will also be clearly informed if the flight was cancelled.
  • Consumers will be clearly informed about the consequences that specific services offered by airline intermediaries can have on the consumer’s rights in the event of a flight disruption (e.g. that contact details may not have been transferred to the airlines, or that when only one leg of a trip is cancelled, the second leg may still have to be paid where there is no interlink between the flights constituting the journey).

The three major European airline intermediaries agreed to introduce the changes to its practices ahead of the upcoming summer holiday season, by 30 June 2023.

Next steps

The network of European consumer protection authorities will now close its dialogues with all airline intermediaries, but authorities will continue to monitor whether commitments are correctly implemented. The network will furthermore continue to monitor compliance by airlines with their commitments under the CPC action against 16 major airlines conducted in 2021.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network, under the leadership of the Swedish Consumer Agency, launched this action in June 2022. This was in view of the persistently difficult reimbursement conditions for consumers who were affected by early COVID-19 flight cancellations. The action was based also on the information gathered in the context of the dialogues of consumer authorities with airlines held in 2021, as well as complaints from EU consumers submitted to national authorities and bodies.  

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border infringements of consumer law, those national authorities, assisted by the European Commission, coordinate their investigation and enforcement actions. The specific cooperation and coordination mechanism under which the network operates is governed by the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation.  

For More Information

Consumer protection: Airlines reimburse over 500,000 flight vouchers as result of Commission and consumer authorities action in COVID-19 pandemic

Coordinated consumer actions: air travel

Consumer Protection Cooperation Network

EU Passenger Rights


Today, the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR), enters into force. The new rules seek to address major societal changes that have affected consumer product safety in the past two decades, such as increasing digitalisation, new technological developments, and globalised supply chains. This modernised framework will ensure that only safe products are offered to consumers, regardless of the origin of the products and whether they are sold in shops or on online marketplaces.

In addition, the Commission is announcing today its call for applications for the 2023 edition of the EU Product Safety Award. This competition brings together successful and talented businesses and researchers, who want to make a difference for the safety of consumers. This year, the EU Product Safety Award focuses on businesses that innovate and invest to improve the safety of young people.

New EU general product safety rules

The objective of the new General Product Safety Regulation is to ensure that all consumer products on the EU market are safe. It applies to non-food products, be they sold offline or online. The Regulation provides for a real safety net for consumers adressing safety of products or risks not regulated in other EU legislation, more specifically by:

  • key elements such as the evolving nature of a product or its interconnectivity in the safety assessment of consumer products;
  • improving the conditions for product safety between online and offline sales;
  • establishing specific product safety requirements for online marketplaces to protect consumers against dangerous products sold via online marketplaces;
  • extending the obligation for all non-harmonised products imported to the EU to have an economic operator in the EU responsible for the product safety issues;
  • providing national authorities with necessary tools, thus stepping up their enforcement powers;
  • ensuring effective product recalls by requiring direct contacts of consumers and standardised recall notices.

Call for application for the 2023 Product Safety Award

The 2023 EU Product Safety Award focuses on businesses that innovate and invest to improve the safety of young people. For the first time, researchers may also take part in the competition. The categories of the Product Safety Award include distinctions for both small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies, as well as for early-career and senior researchers. Applications are open until 8 September 2023.


Online sales have increased steadily in the last 20 years. Statistics from the Safety Gate showed that 31% of alerts concern dangerous products sold online. The new General Product Safety Regulation addresses these digitalisation challenges and also risks related to new technology products.

The revision of the General Product Safety Directive was one of the actions set out in the New Consumer agenda from November 2020 on strengthening consumer resilience for sustainable recovery. The Commission tabled the proposal on the General Product Safety Regulation in June 2021, with the aim of improving the safety of consumer products on the Union market and updating the general product safety framework set out in the 2001 General Product Safety Directive. The European Parliament and Council have adopted it in March and April 2023.

The EU Product Safety Award is organised every two years by the European Commission. It celebrates business initiatives and research that go the extra mile to raise the bar for consumer product safety across the EU. To apply, companies must be based in one of the 30 European Economic Area countries (the 27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein). Likewise, researchers need to be the nationals of one of the EEA countries or be affiliated to academic institutions based in the EEA. After an eligibility screening, a jury panel of policy and safety experts selects the finalists in each category. Winners of this year’s award will be announced during the official gala ceremony hosted in Brussels in December this year.  

For More Information

General Product Safety Regulation 

General Product Safety Directive (europa.eu)

Consumer product safety

2023 EU Product Safety Award




Following an alert from the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the European Commission and EU consumer authorities (Network of Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Authorities) contacted Nintendo to address a recurring technical problem with irresponsive controllers. Following this action, Nintendo has agreed to offer all consumers the right to repair for affected controllers of the “Nintendo Switch” gaming console free of charge, even beyond the legal guarantee. The joint action was led by the Greek Ministry of Development and Investments and the German Environment Agency, and coordinated by the European Commission.

Consumers using the Nintendo Switch console had reported to CPC authorities and consumer associations that they have been dealing with deterioration and a loss of control of the console. As the problem rendered controllers useless, consumers who could not repair them easily or free of charge were obliged to replace them, resulting in unnecessary electronic waste. As a result of the action, Nintendo agreed to offer and indicate clearly that defective Joy-Con controllers will be repaired without charge by Nintendo’s repair centers, irrespective of whether this has been caused by a defect or by wear and tear, and even if the manufacturer’s guarantee given by Nintendo has expired.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To address cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level by the European Commission.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Under the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders.

This technical problem known as the “Joy-Con drift” affected both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite consoles. BEUC’s member organisations had received nearly 25,000 consumer complaints about the Nintendo Switch console by January 2021.

On 22 March, the Commission adopted a proposal on the right to repair. The proposal will make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to repair as opposed to replace goods. Once the new rules are in place, they will ensure that more products are repaired within the legal guarantee, and that consumers have easier and cheaper options to repair products that are technically repairable (such as electronic displays for example) when the legal guarantee has expired or when the good is not functional anymore as a result of wear and tear. The Commission’s proposal has to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

Moreover, the Commission proposed to update the EU consumer rules to empower consumers for the green transition. Additionally, the initiative on Substantiating Green Claims will make it easier for consumers to make sustainable purchasing choices and stop companies from making misleading claims about environmental merits of their products and services.

The proposed revisions in EU consumer law were announced in the New Consumer Agenda and the Circular Economy Action Plan. The revisions aim to support the changes needed in consumer behaviour to achieve climate and environmental objectives under the European Green Deal by ensuring that consumers have better information on the durability and reparability of products, as well as protecting consumers from commercial practices that prevent them from shopping more sustainably.

For More Information

Common position of national authorities of the CPC Network concerning the commercial practices of Nintendo of Europe GmbH

More information on consumer enforcement actions


Today, the European Commission has published the results of the 2023 Consumer Conditions Scoreboard, a survey on consumption habits in the EU Member States, as well as in Iceland and Norway. The data shows that almost half of consumers (48%) were worried about being able to pay their bills, and a large majority (71%) took measures to reduce their energy consumption at home. In addition, the vast majority of consumers also expressed concerns about their safety online, particularly, 94% said that they were worried about online targeted advertising.

Main findings of the 2023 Consumer Conditions Scoreboard

  • 48% of respondents expressed concern about their ability to pay their bills, including mortgages and transport to work. More than a third reported that they dipped into their savings (37%) and one in ten saw an increase in their mortgages, notably due to variable interests rates.
  • In response to energy price hikes, more than half of consumers report that they have changed their habits, be it to save energy at home (71%), by using public subsidies for energy efficiency measures and/or by changing their use of transport (28%).
  • Although the vast majority of consumers believe that they should personally do more to contribute to the green transition and tackling climate change, they were split in terms of the extent to which the environmental impact of goods and services influenced their choices: 43% declared that they were not at all influenced by environmental concerns in their purchasing decisions. There are also big variations between sectors, with cars topping the list in terms of the importance of environmental impact consumers felt when making a choice (81%). In addition, fewer consumers expressed their beliefs in the reliability of environmental claims than in 2020 (-5 pp), which could be attributed to a higher level of awareness about greenwashing.
  • As e-commerce sales grow year on year, consumers are increasingly exposed to frequent unfair practices online. The three most frequently reported practices were: personally targeted online advertising (76%), hidden advertising in search results (75%) and disingenuous consumer reviews (69%). With regards to online advertising in particular, 94% expressed concerns about it, with 70% worried about inappropriate use and sharing of personal data, 66% about the collection of online data and related profiling without explicit knowledge or agreement and 57% about cookies’ installation.

Next steps

The results will be discussed amongst participants at the Commission’s annual Consumer Summit tomorrow, hosted by Commissioner Reynders. More than 400 participants, including the EU ministers from the Member States of the current and upcoming Council Presidencies (Sweden, Spain, Belgium and Hungary), will hold discussions on consumer protection during crises, the achievements under the New Consumer Agenda and the future of EU consumer policy, including on how to better address digital challenges.


The Consumer Conditions Scoreboard is a biennial reporting exercise to monitor consumer sentiment across the EU, as well as in Iceland and Norway. It collects data on national conditions for consumers with regards to knowledge and trust, compliance and enforcement and complaints and dispute resolution.

The data for this year’s report was gathered through surveys carried out in October and November 2022 around topical themes, including consumer habits during crises, as well as regarding the green and digital transitions.

Since the summer of 2021, energy prices have seen unprecedented spikes and volatility, especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This has had a severe impact on EU households and the economy. To mitigate the effect of these market dynamics, the Commission has proposed and Member States have agreed to a wide range of emergency measures to tackle high energy prices and mitigate their impact on consumers. In the Communication ‘Tackling rising energy prices: a toolbox for action and support‘, the Commission first clarified which measures at national level, such as income support and regulated prices, were possible under existing EU law. The toolbox was then updated in Spring 2022, when the Commission also presented the REPowerEU Plan, for the EU to regain its energy independence and get rid of Russian fossil fuel imports as soon as possible. Throughout 2022, the EU has then introduced measures on gas storage, coordinated gas demand reduction, a gas market correction mechanism as well as an emergency intervention to address high energy prices by reducing electricity demand and redistributing windfall profits from the energy sector to consumers, among others. More recently, on 14 March, the Commission proposed to reform the EU’s electricity market design. A key objective of the reform is to enhance the protection of consumers from volatile prices and to empower them with greater contract choice, as well as more direct access to renewable energy, with extra protection envisioned for the most vulnerable consumers. More information on actions and measures on energy prices is available here.

For More Information

Consumer Scoreboards


Today, the Commission is proposing common criteria against greenwashing and misleading environmental claims. Under today’s proposal, consumers will have more clarity, stronger reassurance that when something is sold as green, it actually is green, and better quality information to choose environment-friendly products and services. Businesses will also benefit, as those that make a genuine effort to improve the environmental sustainability of their products will be more easily recognised and rewarded by consumers and able to boost their sales – rather than face unfair competition. This way, the proposal will help establish a level playing field when it comes to information about environmental performance of products.

Commission study from 2020 highlighted that 53.3% of examined environmental claims in the EU were found to be vague, misleading or unfounded and 40% were unsubstantiated. The absence of common rules for companies making voluntary green claims leads to ‘greenwashing’ and creates an uneven playing field in the EU’s market, to the disadvantage of genuinely sustainable companies.

Reliable, comparable and verifiable information for consumers

According to the proposal, when companies choose to make a ‘green claim’ about their products or services, they will have to respect minimum norms on how they substantiate these claims and how they communicate them.

The proposal targets explicit claims, such as for example: ‘T-shirt made of recycled plastic bottles’, ‘CO2 compensated delivery’, ‘packaging made of 30% recycled plastic’ or ‘ocean friendly sunscreen’. It also aims to tackle the proliferation of labels as well as new public and private environmental labels. It covers all voluntary claims about the environmental impacts, aspects or performance of a product, service or the trader itself. However, it excludes claims that are covered by existing EU rules, such as the EU Ecolabel or the organic food logo, because the current laws already ensure that these regulated claims are reliable. Claims which will be covered by upcoming EU regulatory rules, will be excluded for the same reason. 

Before companies communicate any of the covered types of ‘green claims’ to consumers, such claims will need to be independently verified and proven with scientific evidence. As part of the scientific analysis, companies will identify the environmental impacts that are actually relevant to their product, as well as identifying any possible trade-offs, to give a full and accurate picture.

Clear and harmonised rules and labels

Several rules will make sure that claims are communicated clearly. For example, claims or labels that use aggregate scoring of the product’s overall environmental impact, will no longer be permitted, unless set in EU rules. If products or organisations are compared with others, such comparisons should be based on equivalent information and data.

The proposal will also regulate environmental labels. There are currently at least 230 different labels and there is evidence that this leads to consumer confusion and distrust. To control the proliferation of such labels, new public labelling schemes will not be allowed, unless developed at EU level, and any new private schemes will need to show higher environmental ambition than existing ones and get a pre-approval to be allowed. There are detailed rules about environmental labels in general: they must also be reliable, transparent, independently verified, and regularly reviewed.

Next steps

Following the ordinary legislative procedure, the Green Claims Directive proposal will now be subject to the approval of the European Parliament and the Council. 


Today’s proposal complements the March 2022 proposal on ‘empowering consumers for the green transition’ by providing more specific rules on environmental claims, in addition to a general prohibition of misleading advertising. Today’s proposal is also presented together with a proposal on common rules promoting the repair of goods, which will also contribute to sustainable consumption and enhance the circular economy.

Today’s proposal makes good on an important Commission commitment as part of the European Green Deal. It is the third package of proposals on circular economy, together with the proposal on common rules promoting the repair of goods. The first and second circular economy packages were adopted in March and November 2022.  The first package included the new proposed Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products, the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, and the proposed Consumer law directive on empowering consumers in the green transition. The second package included the proposals for the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, the communication on biodegradable, biobased and compostable plastics and the proposed EU Certification for Carbon Removals Regulation. 

For More Information

Proposal for a Directive on New rules on substantiating green claims

Questions and Answers: New criteria on substantiating green claims


Webpage on green claims


Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods

Press release – Promoting Repair and Reuse

Questions and Answers – Promoting Repair and Reuse

Promoting Repair and Reuse – Website


Today, the European Commission adopted a new proposal on common rules promoting the repair of goods, which will result in savings for consumers and support the objectives of the European Green Deal by reducing waste, among others. Over the last decades, replacement has often been prioritised over repair whenever products become defective and insufficient incentives have been given to consumers to repair their goods when the legal guarantee expires. The proposal will make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to repair as opposed to replace goods. Additionally, more demand will translate into a boost to the repair sector while incentivising producers and sellers to develop more sustainable business models.

Today’s proposal will ensure that more products are repaired within the legal guarantee, and that consumers have easier and cheaper options to repair products that are technically repairable (such as vacuum cleaners, or soon, tablets and smartphones) when the legal guarantee has expired or when the good is not functional anymore as a result of wear and tear.

New measures to promote and facilitate repair and reuse

The proposal introduces a new ‘right to repair’ for consumers, both within and beyond the legal guarantee.

Within the legal guarantee, sellers will be required to offer repair except when it is more expensive than replacement.

Beyond the legal guarantee, a new set of rights and tools will be available to consumers to make ‘repair’ an easy and accessible option:

  • A right for consumers to claim repair to producers, for products that are technically repairable under EU law, like a washing machine or a TV. This will ensure that consumers always have someone to turn to when they opt to repair their products, as well as encourage producers to develop more sustainable business models.
  • A producers’ obligation to inform consumers about the products that they are obliged to repair themselves.
  • An online matchmaking repair platform to connect consumers with repairers and sellers of refurbished goods in their area. The platform will enable searches by location and quality standards, helping consumers find attractive offers, and boosting visibility for repairers.
  • European Repair Information Form which consumers will be able to request from any repairer, bringing transparency to repair conditions and price, and make it easier for consumers to compare repair offers.
  • European quality standard for repair services will be developed to help consumers identify repairers who commit to a higher quality. This ‘easy repair’ standard will be open to all repairers across the EU willing to commit to minimum quality standards, for example based on duration, or availability of products.

Next steps

The Commission’s proposal has to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.


recent Eurobarometer showed that 77% of Europeans feel a personal responsibility to act to limit climate change. Discarded products are often viable goods that can be repaired but are often tossed prematurely, resulting in 35 million tons of waste, 30 million tons of resources and 261 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU every year. Furthermore, the loss for consumers of opting for replacement instead of repair is estimated at almost 12 billion per year. Additionally, the initiative is estimated to bring EUR 4.8 billion in growth and investment in the EU.

However, repair is often seen as difficult by consumers. The ‘right to repair’ initiative complements several other proposals presented by the Commission to achieve sustainable consumption throughout the entire lifecycle of a product, setting the framework for a true ‘right to repair’ across the EU.

This proposal is part of the European Commission’s broader goal of becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050. This can only happen if consumers and businesses are consuming and producing more sustainably.

The ‘right to repair’ proposal was announced in the New Consumer Agenda and the Circular Economy Action Plan. It tackles obstacles that discourage consumers to repair due to inconvenience, lack of transparency or difficult access to repair services. It therefore encourages repair as a more sustainable consumption choice, which contributes to the climate and environmental objectives under the European Green Deal.

This initiative complements other instruments that pursue the European Green Deal objective of sustainable consumption by means of repair. On the supply side, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products regulation promotes the reparability of products in the production phase. On the demand side, the proposal for a Directive on Empowering consumers for the green transition enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions at the point of sale. This proposal strengthens the demand side by promoting repair in the after-sales phase. The three initiatives together cover the entire lifecycle of a product, complementing and reinforcing each other.

Additionally, the initiative on Substantiating Green Claims, also adopted today, will make it easier for consumers to support the green transition through their purchasing choices and stop companies from making misleading claims about environmental merits of their products and services. This initiative also complements the Proposal ‘Empowering consumers for the green transition’ which sets the horizontal framework against greenwashing.

For More Information

Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods

Promoting Repair and Reuse – Questions and Answers

Promoting Repair and Reuse – Website

Proposal on the Directive on Green Claims

European Green Deal: New rules to stop ‘greenwashing’ – Press release

New rules on substantiating green claims – Questions and Answers

New rules on substantiating green claims – Factsheet

Initiative on substantiating green claims – Environment – European Commission – Website



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15 March is World Consumer Rights Day.   For this occasion, the European Consumer Centre Malta is sharing five smart tips for your next online payment.

Why BNPL ‘buy now, pay later’’ is not always a good idea

More and more online shops offer “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) schemes as a payment option. Besides, apps like Klarna offer consumers a way of buying a product and paying for it over time. You will receive the product, and instead of paying for it at the time of purchase, you will pay later in instalments, usually without any interest or fees. The main disadvantage of such plans is that they may encourage impulse spending, and you will be spending money you may not have.  

BNPL often takes the form of a loan agreement, which bears risks. If this is the only way you can afford a specific product, you better keep your distance and avoid unintentional debt accumulation. Moreover, you must pay on time to avoid having to pay late payment fees.

Do not let dark patterns manipulate you

Dark patterns are marketing tricks designed to manipulate consumers into buying a particular product. These deceptive adverts or designs are not easy to spot. Therefore, it is best to be aware of these sales techniques to avoid falling for them. These dark patterns include statements such as: ‘limited time offer – Order soon’ or ‘only five left in stock – order soon’. Other dark patterns are unverified positive testimonies, such as fake reviews.

Our advice is to take your time and scour the internet for genuine adverts. Compare prices on different websites and look for alternative products. Always contact a consumer centre like our centre (ECC Net Malta) before buying if in doubt.

Double lock your mobile wallet

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to people trying to touch as few surfaces as possible, and contactless payments have boomed. More and more consumers are even using digital wallets. In other words, smartphone apps make it possible to store our credit cards, travel tickets and membership data on one device. However, besides being very convenient to have everything accessible on one device, this could also be very dangerous to have such sensitive data altogether. The worst-case scenario is, for example, if someone hacks your smartphone or else you lose your smartphone. Generally, mobile wallets are considered secure since your data is encrypted and cannot be seen by traders or other unauthorised persons. Nevertheless, to add peace of mind, our advice is always to set a two-factor authentication process so that you will protect your mobile wallet with an additional verification method. It is also advisable to change passwords frequently and use strong passwords.

Additional protection when paying with a credit card

Online shops offer different payment methods, each of which has pros and cons. Payment services like PayPal offer additional protection to the buyer. However, sometimes in case of a problem, communication can be more complicated since an additional party is involved. On the other hand, credit cards are not only considered a secure means of payment but have another advantage: if there is a problem with non-delivery or even fraud, for example, the payment can, in many cases, be cancelled thanks to a chargeback procedure. To do this, contact your bank. Important to know: You must prove that you have tried to clarify the situation with the trader.

How to save extra money with price drop alerts tools?

Before promotional periods such as January sales or Black Friday, some shops set prices higher, only to lower them again and market them as special discounts during such sales. This technique violates European law. Nevertheless, how can you spot such misleading practices?

We advise keeping an eye on prices throughout the year and comparing prices on different websites. Another option is to use free online tools or apps that track product prices, and these tools will notify us when the price of a specific product changes.  


Press contact: ECC Net Malta

E-mail: ecc.malta@mccaa.org.mt


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

Following a dialogue with EU consumer protection authorities and the European Commission (CPC network), WhatsApp committed to being more transparent on changes to its terms of service. Moreover, the company will make it easier for users to reject updates when they disagree with them, and will clearly explain when such rejection leads the user to no longer be able to use WhatsApp’s services. Also, WhatsApp confirmed that users’ personal data are not shared with third-parties or other Meta companies – including Facebook – for advertising purposes. The dialogue was coordinated by the Swedish Consumer Agency and the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and facilitated by the Commission.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “I welcome WhatsApp’s commitments to changing its practices to comply with EU rules, actively informing users of any changes to their contract, and respecting their choices instead of asking them each time they open the app. Consumers have a right to understand what they agree to and what that choice entails concretely, so that they can decide whether they want to continue using the platform.”

The CPC Network first sent a letter to WhatsApp in January 2022, following an alert by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and eight of its member associations on alleged unfair practices in the context of WhatsApp’s updates to their terms of service and privacy policy. In June 2022, the CPC Network sent a second letter to WhatsApp reiterating their request that consumers must be clearly informed about WhatsApp’s business model and, in particular, whether WhatsApp derives revenues from commercial policies relating to users’ personal data. Following discussions among the CPC Network, the Commission and WhatsApp, the company confirmed that it does not share users’ personal data for advertising purposes.

Overview of commitments

For any future policy updates, WhatsApp will:

  •  explain what changes it intends to make to the users’ contracts and how they could affect their rights;
  • include the possibility to reject updated terms of service as prominently as the possibility to accept them;
  • ensure that the notifications informing about the updates can be dismissed or the review of the updates can be delayed, as well as respect users’ choices and refrain from sending recurring notifications.

Next steps

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will actively monitor how WhatsApp implements these commitments when making any future updates to its policies and, where necessary, enforce compliance – including by the possibility of imposing fines.

Moreover, a recent Commission study and the last CPC sweep on “dark patterns” showed that many companies use “dark patterns”, for example making it more difficult to unsubscribe from a service than to subscribe to it. The CPC Network, with the support of   the Commission, will continue to intensify their efforts to addres such illegal practices where they occur.


The new Digital Services Act foresees i.a. an obligation for services to have clear terms and conditions, explaining to the user in comprehensible language when their content or their account can be affected by certain restrictions, and an obligation to apply such restrictions in a diligent, objective and proportionate manner. The DSA will complement rules such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive or the General Data Protection Regulation, ensuring that no regulatory gap is left for platforms to manipulate users.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the  Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they  have a common toolbox of strong powers to detect irregularities and take speedy and coordinated action against non-compliant traders.

Moreover, the new Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, amended existing EU consumer law instruments by further enhancing transparency for consumers when they buy on online marketplaces.

Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.

For More Information

First letter to WhatsApp – January 2022

Second letter to WhatsApp – June 2022

More information on consumer enforcement actions

The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Apple clarifying its concerns over App Store rules for music streaming providers.

This procedural step follows the Commission’s Statement of Objections which outlined the Commission’s preliminary view that Apple abused its dominant position by: (i) imposing its own in-app purchase payment technology on music streaming app developers (‘IAP obligation’), and (ii) restricting app developers’ ability to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription services (‘anti-steering obligations’).

Today’s Statement of Objections clarifies that the Commission does no longer take a position as to the legality of the IAP obligation for the purposes of this antitrust investigation but rather focuses on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription options at lower prices outside of the app and to effectively choose those.

The Commission takes the preliminary view that Apple’s anti-steering obligations are unfair trading conditions in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’).

In particular, the Commission is concerned that the anti-steering obligations imposed by Apple on music streaming app developers prevent those developers from informing consumers about where and how to subscribe to streaming services at lower prices.  These anti-steering obligations: (i) are neither necessary nor proportionate for the provision of the App Store on iPhones and iPads; (ii) are detrimental to users of music streaming services on Apple’s mobile devices who may end up paying more; and (iii) negatively affect the interests of music streaming app developers by limiting effective consumer choice.

Procedural background

Article 102 of the TFEU prohibits the abuse of a dominant position. The implementation of these provisions is defined in the Antitrust Regulation (Council Regulation No 1/2003), which can also be applied by the national competition authorities.

In June 2020, the Commission opened formal proceedings into Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store. In April 2021, the Commission sent Apple a Statement of Objections to which Apple responded in September 2021.  

Today’s Statement of Objections, by clarifying the Commission’s objections, replaces the 2021 Statement of Objections.

In a Statement of Objections the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressees can examine the documents in the Commission’s investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing to present their comments on the case before representatives of the Commission and national competition authorities. Sending a further Statement of Objections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.

If the Commission concludes, after the company has exercised its rights of defence, that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can adopt a decision prohibiting the conduct and imposing a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.

There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end. The duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.

For More Information

More information on the investigation is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number AT.40437. A periodic compilation of antitrust and cartel news is available in the Competition Weekly e-News.

On the occasion of the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024, which will take place in France, the French Directorate General for competition, consumers and fraud control (DGCCRF) launches together with the European Consumer Centre (ECC) France a website section covering Frequently Asked Questions. Available in French and English, it answers the main questions that foreign consumers and visitors may have and reminds them of their rights in France.

Major international sporting events attract a considerable number of visitors. They are also great moments of consumption, whether it be for accommodation, travel, food or tourism.

To answer the questions French and foreign consumers may have during these events, the DGCCRF has published a special FAQ on the Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games. Clear, precise and practical, it deals with numerous topics such as the purchase of tickets, accommodation, package holidays, air travel and mobile phone charges (roaming). It will gradually be enriched with new answers concerning train travel, public transport, taxis, restaurants, etc., as to cover all consumer questions.

The FAQs have been prepared with the active support of the European Consumer Centre (ECC) France, which informs, advises and assists French consumers facing a dispute in Europe, but also Europeans who have questions regarding their rights in France or a dispute with a French trader.

The FAQ is being launched this week at the same time as sales of ticket packs for the 2024 Olympic Games. In addition to being accessible on the DGCCRF website, it will also be widely relayed by the tourist offices of several cities involved in the organisation of these events, but also within the consulates and the European Consumer Centres network (ECC-Net) throughout the European Union, Iceland and Norway.

“I welcome this initiative by the DGCCRF and the ECC France to better inform consumers of their rights and protect them. All the economic and financial ministries are mobilised to ensure the success of the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games and, more generally, of major sporting events, which contribute to France’s reputation and are also a showcase for our country and tremendous opportunities in terms of economic activity, employment and the development of our companies.”


Bruno Le Maire, Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty

“The Rugby World Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games should be great moments of celebration for millions of visitors who will discover our country or return to it. It is an opportunity to reaffirm our sense of welcome at the global level. These frequently asked questions, published by the DGCCRF and the European Consumer Centre France, will provide precise answers to visitors’ questions and will help to ensure that their experience of these major sporting events in France goes smoothly.”


Olivia Grégoire, Minister for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Trade, Craft Industries and Tourism

Link : Rugby World Cup | 2024 Olympic Games (europe-consommateurs.eu)

Press contact: Elphège TIGNEL

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Today, the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities of 23 Member States, Norway and Iceland (CPC Network), released the results of a screening (“sweep”) of retail websites. This check covered 399 online shops of retail traders selling products ranging from textiles to electronic goods. It also focused on three specific types of manipulative practices that are often known to push consumers into making choices that may not be in their best interest, so-called ‘dark patterns’. These include: fake countdown timers; web interfaces designed to lead consumers to purchases, subscriptions or other choices; and hidden information. The investigation showed that 148 sites contained at least one of these three dark patterns.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “Our screening shows that nearly 40% of the online shopping websites rely on manipulative practices to exploit consumers’ vulnerabilities or trick them. This behavior is clearly wrong and against consumer protection. Today we already have binding tools to help tackle such issues and I call on national authorities to make use of their enforcement capacities to take relevant action and fight these practices. In parallel, the Commission is reviewing all consumer legislation to ensure it is fit for the digital age, including to assess whether dark patterns are adequately covered.”  

  • 42 websites used fake countdown timers with deadlines to purchase specific products;
  • 54 websites directed consumers towards certain choices – from subscriptions to more expensive products or delivery options – either through their visual design or choice of language;
  • 70 websites were found to be hiding important information or making it less visible for consumers. For example, this included information related to delivery costs, the composition of products, or on the availability of a cheaper option. 23 websites were hiding information with the aim of manipulating consumers into entering into a subscription;
  •  The sweep also included the apps of 102 of the websites screened, 27 of which also deployed at least one of the three catagories of dark patterns.

Next steps

National authorities will now contact the traders concerned to rectify their websites and  take further action if necessary, according to their national procedures.

In addition to this sweep and as part of its broader efforts to tackle dark patterns to complement the work of the CPC network, the Commission will also contact online traders identified in a 2022 study on unfair commercial practices in the digital environment to ask them to rectify the issues identified here.

In addition, the Commission is gathering feedback on three directives related to consumer protection, to determine whether they ensure a high level of protection in the digital environment: the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive, and the Unfair Contract Terms Directive. A public consultation is open until 20 February 2023.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders.

The new Digital Services Act will prohibit dark patterns on online platforms. It will complement rules such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive or the General Data Protection Regulation, ensuring that no regulatory gap is left for platforms to manipulate users.

Moreover, the new Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, amended existing EU consumer law instruments by further enhancing transparency for consumers when they buy on online marketplaces.

Sweeps are carried out by the network using a set of common criteria prepared by the European Commission. Information on previous sweeps can be found here.

For More Information

Sweeps: Website checks

Consumer protection regulationFactsheet



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Have you ever struggled to understand whether you were buying directly from Google or from a different brand, or had difficulty finding information about final costs? In order to further align its practices with EU law – mainly on lack of transparency and clear information to consumers – Google has committed to introduce changes in several of its products and services. Following a dialogue started in 2021 with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC), coordinated by the European Commission and led by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets and the Belgian Directorate-General for Economic Inspection, Google has agreed to address issues raised by the authorities and to  introduce changes in Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels and Google Flights to ensure compliance with EU consumer rules.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “Even today, almost three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, we see an increasing number of consumers turn to the internet to book their holidays, make purchases, or consult a review. EU consumers are entitled to clear, complete information so that they can make informed choices. The commitments made by Google are a step forward in this direction. We call on Google to comply fully with  the Geo-blocking Regulation, ensuring that consumers can enjoy the same rights and access the same content, wherever they are in the EU.”

Overview of commitments:

Following the dialogue, Google has committed to limit its capacity to make unilateral changes related to orders when it comes to price or cancellations, and to create an email address whose use is reserved to consumer protection authorities, so that they can report and request the quick removal of illegal content.

Moreover, Google agreed to introduce a series of changes to its practices, such as:

Google Flights and Google Hotels:

  • Make clear to consumers whether they contract directly with Google or whether it is simply acting as an intermediary;
  • Clarify the price used as a reference when discounts are advertised on the platform, as well as the fact that reviews are not verified on Google Hotels;
  •  Accept the same transparency commitments as other big accommodation platforms as regards the way it presents information to consumers, for example, on prices or availability.

Google Play Store and Google Store:

  • Provide clear pre-contractual information on delivery costs, right of withdrawal and availability of repair or replacement options. Furthermore, Google will facilitate also information on the company (e.g. legal name and address) and direct and effective contact points (e.g. a live telephone agent);
  • Clarify how to browse different country versions of the Google Play Store and inform developers about their obligations under the Geo-blocking Regulation to make their apps accessible EU-wide, as well as enable consumers to use means of payment from any EU country.

Next steps

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will actively monitor the implementation of these commitments, and national authorities will monitor and enforce compliance where concerns remain. Particularly, since there is one practice by Google that still does not comply fully with the Geo-blocking Regulation, as the company applies technical limitations for the use of the apps which would normally be available in the country where the user is temporarily located. Google justified that users can change their country of residence once a year to have access to the local apps and games of another Member State. However, that change may cause the loss of acquired content and outstanding credit, which is considered as an infringement to the Geo-blocking Regulation.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders.

Moreover, the new Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, amended existing EU consumer law instruments by further enhancing transparency for consumers when they buy on online marketplaces.

Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.

For More Information

Common position of national authorities of the CPC Network concerning the commercial practices and terms and conditions of Google.com

Complete list of changes

More information on consumer enforcement actions

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On 1 January 2023 Croatia will adopt the euro as its currency and will fully join the Schengen area. This marks an important milestone in the history of Croatia, of the euro and Schengen areas and of the EU as a whole. It follows a period of intensive preparation and substantial efforts by Croatia to meet all the necessary requirements. 
The Commission has fully supported Croatia in the process of joining the euro and Schengen areas. With Croatia, 20 EU Member States and 347 million EU citizens will share the EU’s common currency. As for Schengen, this is the eighth enlargement and the first after 11 years.

The euro will deliver practical benefits to Croatian citizens and businesses. It will make travelling and living abroad easier, boost the transparency and competitiveness of markets, and facilitate trade. Euro notes and coins will also become a tangible symbol for all Croatians of the freedom, convenience and opportunity that the EU makes possible. Public support for the euro in the euro area remains very strong, with broad majorities of EU citizens believing the euro is a good thing for the EU as a whole and for their own country.

The Schengen area allows 420 million people to travel freely between member countries without going through border controls. It allows to develop a common, shared responsibility for controlling the external borders of the Union and the responsibility to issue common Schengen visas. Above numbers, for more than 35 years now Schengen has been an area of values, freedom, security and justice. Especially in the current geopolitical and economic context, the Schengen area is instrumental to stability, resilience and recovery. 

Introducing euro cash

From Sunday, 1 January 2023, the euro will gradually replace the kuna as the currency of Croatia. In line with a consistent record of exchange-rate stability, the kuna will be exchanged at a conversion rate of 1 euro for 7.53450 Croatian kuna. The two currencies will be used alongside each other for a period of two weeks. When receiving a payment in kuna, the change will be given in euro. This will allow for a progressive withdrawal of the kuna from circulation.


The dual display of prices in kuna and euro became compulsory on 5 September 2022 and will apply until 31 December 2023. In order to protect consumers and address their concerns about unjustified price increases in the changeover period, a Business Code of Ethics has been introduced to ensure stability of prices for goods and services by helping businesses to correctly recalculate and display prices. Businesses who sign up to the initiative can display its logo to reassure customers, and will lose this right if found to be in breach of the Code. The Code of Ethics is enforced by the State Inspectorate, which will also monitor the prices of frequently-purchased products and services during the changeover.

Commercial banks have received euro banknotes and coins in advance from the Croatian National Bank and have in turn supplied euro cash to shops and other businesses. Kuna banknotes and coins can be exchanged for euro banknotes and coins at the Financial Agency and post offices until 31 December 2023. The exchange is free of charge. The exchange of kuna banknotes and coins at commercial banks is also possible until 31 December 2023. It is free of charge for all exchanges done before 1 July 2023 up to a limit of 100 kuna banknotes and 100 kuna coins. For changes as of 1 July 2023, commercial banks can charge a fee. Croatia’s national central bank will exchange kuna banknotes without a time limit, and kuna coins until 31 December 2025. This service is free of charge.

70% of automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Croatia will distribute euro banknotes already on 1 January 2023, and the rest will follow as soon as possible thereafter (within two weeks). To facilitate the process, commercial banks will publish online information on which ATMs distribute euro.

Schengen area

The Schengen area is one of the main achievements of the European project. It started in 1985 as an intergovernmental project between five EU countries – France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – and has gradually expanded to become the largest free travel area in the world.

An enlarged Schengen area without internal border controls will make Europe safer, through reinforced protection of our common external borders and effective police cooperation; more prosperous, by eliminating time lost at borders and facilitating people and business contacts; and more attractive, by significantly expanding the world’s largest common area without internal border controls.

Since its accession to the EU in 2013, Croatia has applied parts of the Schengen acquis, including those related to the external border controls, police cooperation and the use of the Schengen Information System.

The remaining parts of the Schengen acquis, which include the lifting of controls at internal borders and related measures, will become applicable as of 1 January 2023: checks at internal land and sea borders between Croatia and the other countries in the Schengen area will be lifted. Checks at internal air borders will be lifted from 26 March 2023, given the need for this to coincide with the dates of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) summer/winter time schedule.

In line with the Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Regulation, Croatia will be evaluated within one year from the date of the full application of the Schengen acquis. This Regulation was recently reformed to strengthen the evaluation of the respect for fundamental rights under the Schengen acquis.


In its 2022 Convergence Report, the Commission concluded that Croatia met the criteria for adopting the euro. This assessment was supported by the European Central Bank’s own Convergence Report. In July 2022, EU Finance Ministers took the formal decision that opened the way for Croatia’s adoption of the euro.

The Croatian authorities have undertaken extensive preparations for the country’s entry into the euro area by implementing their national changeover plan, providing all the details for the organisation of the introduction of the euro and the withdrawal of the kuna.

The core principle of Croatia’s national changeover plan is consumer protection. Mechanisms for building a safe environment for consumers have been thoroughly planned under four pillars: the Code of Ethics, the price monitoring of goods and services, the supervision of traders and service providers, and the dual display of prices.

Many retailers, public companies and service providers have signed up to the Code of Ethics launched by the authorities to ensure that the conversion of prices to euro is done fairly and without abusive price increases. The dual display of prices became compulsory on 5 September. It will end 12 months after the date of the introduction of the euro (31 December 2023). The prices of 103 predefined frequently purchased products and services are being monitored during the changeover.

The “Euro Law” provides the Code of Ethics with the necessary regulatory framework. It designates the State Inspectorate as the main body for price monitoring and control and includes provisions on the correct dual display of prices, the respect of the rounding rules, and the correct application of the conversion rate. In case of infringement of the provisions of the “Euro Law”, the State Inspectorate can first issue orders to the traders or economic operators to address the non-compliance; the next step will be to impose penalties. In parallel and if necessary, consumer associations will publish “blacklists” of business entities that violate the principles of the Code of Ethics.

The preparations for the changeover have been complemented by a comprehensive communication campaign by the Croatian authorities. The Commission and the European Central Bank have contributed to these efforts.

Regarding the Schengen accession, already in December 2021 the Council confirmed that Croatia had fulfilled the conditions to join the Schengen area. The evaluation process took place from 2016 to 2020. It included a successful targeted verification visit in 2020 to verify the implementation of actions in external border management. This came after the Commission confirmed that Croatia successfully completed the Schengen evaluation process in 2019. 

*Updated on 17/01/2023


For more information


The euro

Croatia and the euro

Schengen Area

Schengen evaluation and monitoring

Communication on Making Schengen stronger with the full participation of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia in the area without internal border controls


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The European Commission has made commitments offered by Amazon legally binding under EU antitrust rules. Amazon’s commitments address the Commission’s competition concerns over Amazon’s use of non-public marketplace seller data and over a possible bias in granting to sellers access to its Buy Box and its Prime programme.

The Commission’s concerns

In July 2019, the Commission opened a formal investigation into Amazon’s use of non-public data of its marketplace sellers. On 10 November 2020, the Commission adopted a Statement of Objections in which it preliminarily found Amazon dominant on the French and German markets, for the provision of online marketplace services to third-party sellers. It also found that that Amazon’s reliance on marketplace sellers’ non-public business data to calibrate its retail decisions, distorted fair competition on its platform and prevented effective competition.

In parallel, on 10 November 2020, the Commission opened a second investigation to assess whether the criteria that Amazon sets to select the winner of the Buy Box and to enable sellers to offer products under its Prime Programme, lead to preferential treatment of Amazon’s retail business or of the sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services.  

In the second investigation, the Commission preliminarily concluded that Amazon abused its dominance on the French, German and Spanish markets for the provision of online marketplace services to third-party sellers.

It also preliminarily concluded that Amazon’s rules and criteria for the Buy Box and Prime unduly favour its own retail business, as well as marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services.

The commitments

To address the Commission’s competition concerns in relation to both investigations, Amazon initially offered the following commitments:

– To address the data use concern, Amazon proposed to commit:

  • not to use non-public data relating to, or derived from, the independent sellers’ activities on its marketplace, for its retail business. This applies to both Amazon’s automated tools and employees that could cross-use the data from Amazon Marketplace, for retail decisions;
  • not to use such data for the purposes of selling branded goods as well as its private label products.

– To address the Buy Box concern, Amazon proposed to commit to:

  • treat all sellers equally when ranking the offers for the purposes of the selection of the Buy Box winner;
  • display a second competing offer to the Buy Box winner if there is a second offer from a different seller that is sufficiently differentiated from the first one on price and/or delivery. Both offers will display the same descriptive information and provide the same purchasing experience.

– To address the Prime concerns Amazon proposed to commit to:

  • set non-discriminatory conditions and criteria for the qualification of marketplace sellers and offers to Prime;
  • allow Prime sellers to freely choose any carrier for their logistics and delivery services and negotiate terms directly with the carrier of their choice;
  • not use any information obtained through Prime about the terms and performance of third-party carriers, for its own logistics services.

Between 14 July 2022 and 9 September 2022, the Commission market tested Amazon’s commitments and consulted all interested third parties to verify whether they would remove its competition concerns. In light of the outcome of this market test, Amazon amended the initial proposal and committed to:

  • Improve the presentation of the second competing Buy Box offer by making it more prominent and to include a review mechanism in case the presentation is not attracting adequate consumer attention;
  • Increase the transparency and early information flows to sellers and carriers about the commitments and their newly acquired rights, enabling, amongst others, early switching of sellers to independent carriers;
  • Lay out the means for independent carriers to directly contact their Amazon customers, in line with data-protection rules, enabling them to provide equivalent delivery services to those offered by Amazon;
  • Improve carrier data protection from use by Amazon’s competing logistics services, in particular concerning cargo profile information;
  • Increase the powers of the monitoring trustee by introducing further notification obligations;
  • Introduce a centralised complaint mechanism, open to all sellers and carriers in case of suspected non-compliance with the commitments.
  • Increase to seven years, instead of the initially proposed five years, the duration of the commitments relating to Prime and the second competing Buy Box offer.

The Commission found that Amazon’s final commitments will ensure that Amazon does not use marketplace seller data for its own retail operations and that it grants non-discriminatory access to Buy Box and Prime. The Commission decided to make them legally binding on Amazon.

The offered commitments cover all Amazon’s current and future marketplaces in the European Economic Area. They exclude Italy for the commitments relating to the Buy Box and Prime in view of the decision of 30 November 2021 of the Italian competition authority imposing remedies on Amazon with regard to the Italian market.

The final commitments will remain in force for seven years in relation to Prime and the display of the second competing Buy Box offer, and five years for the remaining parts of the commitments. Under supervision of the Commission, an independent trustee will be in charge of monitoring the implementation and compliance with the commitments.

If Amazon were to breach the commitments, the Commission could impose a fine of up to 10% of Amazon’s total annual turnover, without having to find an infringement of EU antitrust rules or a periodic penalty payment of 5% per day of Amazon’s daily turnover for every day of non-compliance.


Amazon has a dual role as a platform. It runs a marketplace where independent sellers can sell products directly to consumers and at the same time, it sells products on its platform as a retailer, in competition with those independent sellers. As a result of this dual position, Amazon, has access to large data sets about the independent sellers’ activities on its platform, including non-public business data.

Amazon’s Buy Box, prominently displays the offer of one single seller and allows products to be swiftly purchased by directly clicking on a buy button. Amazon’s Prime programme, offers premium services to customers for a fee and allows independent sellers to sell to Prime customers under certain conditions.

Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits the abuse of a dominant position that may affect trade within the EU and prevent or restrict competition. The implementation of this provision is defined in the EU Antitrust Regulation (Regulation No 1/2003), which can also be applied by the national competition authorities.

Article 9 (1) of the EU Antitrust Regulation (Regulation 1/2003) allows the Commission to conclude antitrust proceedings by accepting commitments offered by a company. Such a decision does not reach a conclusion as to whether there is an infringement of EU antitrust rules but legally binds the company to respect the commitments. A policy brief on commitment decisions under Article 9 is available here.

More information, including the full text of today’s Article 9 Commission decision and the full version of the commitments will be available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case numbers AT.40462 and AT.40703.


Today, the Commission is hosting the first European Citizens’ Panel in Brussels allowing citizens to provide their input on how to step up action to reduce food waste in the EU. This is the first of a new generation of Citizens’ Panels launched as a follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe, embedding participatory and deliberative practices in the European Commission’s policy-making process on certain key policy areas.

The reduction of waste, and particularly food waste, is the subject of a legislative proposal included in the Commission’s Work Programme for 2023, in line with the proposals from the Conference of the Future of Europe and the Farm to Fork Strategy.

The purpose of the panel is to enable citizens to deliberate collectively on this issue. They will deliver recommendations that will feed into the Commission’s  work on food waste, including on the aforementioned legislative proposal, and the broader effort in achieving the EU’s food waste reduction targets.

The panel is composed of randomly selected citizens. They are representative of the EU’s diversity in terms of geography (national and urban/rural origin), gender, age, socio-economic background and level of education. One third of the participants are young people under the age of 26.  

Next steps

The panel will meet between December 2022 and February 2023. The first session is taking place on 16-18 December in Brussels. It will be opened by Vice President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides. The second meeting of the panel will take place online on 20-22 January. The final session will be held on 10-12 February in Brussels, with the submission of the panel’s report to the Commission.


President von der Leyen called for a Conference on the Future of Europe in her Political Guidelines of July 2019, as part of a new push for European democracy – and committed to following up on its results.

Building on the success of the Conference, the Commission is embedding participatory and deliberative practices in its policy-making toolbox. Citizens’ Panels are now part of the Commission’s policymaking in certain key areas. The new generation of these panels will deliberate on next year’s initiatives on food waste, learning mobility and virtual worlds.

Nearly 57 million tonnes of food waste were generated in the EU in 2020 (127kg per person), with an associated market value estimated at €130 billion. Households are responsible for 55% of all food waste. Moreover, food waste has significant environmental impacts and accounts for about 5% of EU greenhouse gas emissions associated with the EU’s overall food consumption footprint.

By reducing food waste, we can substantially reduce our resources and energy consumption. Fighting food waste is a triple win: it saves food for human consumption; it helps farmers, companies and consumers to save money; and lowers the environmental impact of food production and consumption.

The EU and its Member States are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which call for the halving of per capita global food waste at retail and consumer level by 2030, as well as for the reduction of food losses along the food supply chain.

Progress to date has not advanced at the scale and pace needed to reach this goal. The introduction of EU-wide, legally binding food waste reduction targets, through a new legislative proposal, aims to accelerate the EU’s progress on the issue. It will also commit Member States to take ambitious action to reduce food waste nationally.

For More Information

The discussions of the Citizens’ Panel can be followed live:
Plenary discussions on 16 December: 14:00 – 18:00
Plenary discussions on 18 December: 09:00 – 12:30

Communication on the Conference on the Future of Europe


Final report

Speech by President von der Leyen at the closing ceremony of the Conference [9 May 2022]

Factsheet on the Conference

Commission Work Programme 2023

Food waste

New phase of citizens’ engagement


Commission acts to promote transparency in the short-term rental sector to the benefit of all players

Today, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation to enhance transparency in the field of short-term accommodation rentals and help public authorities ensure their balanced development as part of a sustainable tourism sector.

While short-term accommodation bookings offer benefits for hosts and tourists, they can create concerns for certain local communities struggling, for instance, with a lack of affordable housing. The new rules will improve the collection and sharing of data from hosts and online platforms. This will, in turn, inform effective and proportionate local policies to address the challenges and opportunities related to the short-term rental sector.

The new proposed rules will help to improve transparency on the identification and activity of short-term accommodation hosts, and on the rules they have to comply with, and will facilitate the registration of hosts. They will also tackle the current fragmentation in how online platforms share data and, ultimately, help prevent illegal listings. Overall, this will contribute to a more sustainable tourism ecosystem and support its digital transition.

New requirements for data sharing for short-term rentals

The new proposed framework will:

•  Harmonise registration requirements for hosts and their short-term rental properties when introduced by national authorities: registration schemes will have to be fully on-line and user-friendly.  A similar set of relevant information on the hosts and their properties, namely the “who”, “what” and “where”, should be required. When completing registration, hosts should receive a unique registration number.

•  Clarify rules to ensure registration numbers are displayed and checked: online platforms will have to facilitate hosts to display registration numbers on their platforms. They will also have to randomly check whether hosts register and display the correct numbers. Public authorities will be able to suspend registration numbers and ask platforms to delist non-compliant hosts.

•  Streamline data sharing between online platforms and public authorities: online platforms will have to share data about the number of rented nights and of guests with public authorities, once a month, in an automated way. Lighter reporting possibilities are foreseen for small and micro platforms. Public authorities will be able to receive this data through national ‘single digital entry points’. This will support well-targeted policy making.

•  Allow the reuse of data, in aggregate form: the data generated under this proposal will, in aggregate form, contribute to tourism statistics produced by Eurostat and feed into the upcoming European data space for tourism. This information will support the development of innovative, tourism-related services.

• Establish an effective framework of implementation: Member States will monitor the implementation of this transparency framework and put in place the relevant penalties for non-compliance with the obligations of this Regulation.

Next Steps

The Commission’s proposal will be discussed in view of adoption by the European Parliament and the Council.

After its adoption and entry into force, Member States will have a two-year period to establish the necessary mechanisms for data exchanges.


Short-term rentals are developing fast in the EU, largely boosted by the platform economy. They represent about one quarter of all tourist accommodation in the EU and their number is increasing significantly across the EU. This trend was confirmed during the COVID crisis: the number of short-term rental bookings during the summers of 2020 and 2021 were above the equivalent 2018 levels. In addition, the number of bookings over the first half of 2022, has increased by 138% compared with the same period in 2021. Short-term rentals have become critical for the EU tourism ecosystem, including guests and hosts, and for many communities, creating both opportunities and challenges.

The proposal for a Regulation on data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services is a key action of the tourism transition pathway, published in February 2022. The proposal was announced in the Commission’s SME Strategy of March 2020 with a view to promoting the balanced and responsible development of the collaborative economy across the Single Market, in full respect of public interests. 

It will also complement existing instruments, in particular the Digital Services Act which regulates online platforms, and the rules of the Directive on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation (DAC7).

For More Information

Proposal for a Regulation on data collection and sharing relating to short-term accommodation rental services

Questions & Answers


Collaborative economy

Enforcing EU laws: delivering the benefits to citizens

Today, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the enforcement of EU law, setting out its work to ensure that EU law is complied with and citizens and businesses can benefit from the same rights across the EU. It is thanks to the correct application of EU law that people can breathe cleaner air, travel and work freely anywhere in the EU or get reimbursed for healthcare received abroad. EU law has a real impact on the everyday life of Europeans. This is why enforcement of EU law is a top priority for the Commission.

The Commission’s efforts to promote compliance start at an early stage when the EU law is designed and adopted. The Commission has developed a number of measures to support Member States, including practical guidance, funding and monitoring, helping to prevent EU law breaches from happening in the first place. At the same time, when EU law is breached, the Commission does not hesitate to take legal action by launching infringement procedures. In recent years, the Commission has initiated ground-breaking procedures to protect fundamental values: equality, justice and citizenship.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: “EU law is what makes the EU – free, fair, and equal. It is the driving force behind a greener, more prosperous and digital Europe, where citizens can feel safe and protected. This should be the right for every European without exceptions. This is why we need comprehensive, smart and strategic enforcement of EU law to make sure that Europeans and business can reap the full benefits of what EU has to offer.”

The Communication:

  1. Working together with Member States

As the Guardian of the Treaties, the Commission has central responsibility for the enforcement of EU law. However, cooperation with Member States is crucial for that enforcement. The application and enforcement of EU law is the result of a combined effort of various actors like national courts, parliaments, regulatory bodies, consumer or data protection authorities, as well the civil society and the public. In particular, national courts, which are EU courts when applying EU law, have a particularly important role in the enforcement chain since it is through them that citizens can have effective access to redress.

  1. Monitoring and early detection of EU law breaches

Increased transparency and monitoring have proven to be effective in encouraging Member States to move faster towards compliance as well as raising awareness among the wider public. The Single Market Scoreboard, the EU Justice Scoreboard, the European Semester’s country-specific reports, the Rule of Law Report, the Environmental Implementation Review or Schengen evaluation are only some of the tools that help to identify potential issues, where enforcement of EU law might be needed. 

  1. Smart enforcement and preventing breaches from the outset

To prevent diverging interpretations of newly adopted EU law and to foster a common understanding of existing rules, the Commission provides Member States with practical guidance, meetings and trainings. Beyond the technical assistance the Commission also provides financial support. While the funding available under the European regional and structural funds or the Recovery and Resilience Facility are not enforcement tools, they can drive change and accelerate the implementation of EU law.

  1. Strategic enforcement and pre-infringement process (EU Pilot)

The Commission’s goal is to ensure that the benefits of EU law are enjoyed by citizens and businesses as quickly as possible. This is why in some cases, also those more technical, the Commission may decide to use a pre-infringement process, known as EU Pilot, which is likely to lead to swifter compliance than a formal infringement procedure. Over time, the EU Pilot process has proven its value. In 2021, over 80% of EU Pilot processes were successfully resolved. For those cases that do not succeed, infringement proceedings are launched.

  1. Tackling breaches of EU law through legal action

The Commission’s use of infringement procedures has evolved over time, giving priority to tackling breaches with the biggest impact on the interests of citizens and businesses. The Commission doubled down on issues concerning environment, digital transition as well as fundamental rights. In fact, the Commission has taken unprecedented legal steps to protect EU’s fundamental values, including non-discrimination of LGBT community, media freedom, fight against racism and xenophobia, and judicial independence. In addition, a larger proportion of cases were opened upon the Commission’s own investigations, with a steady increase over the past five years despite major crises. Overall, the infringement procedures are bringing results with over 90% of cases being resolved before a referral to the Court of Justice becomes necessary.

  1. Fast and effective reactions to crisis

Crises or emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, put the Member States’ full compliance to the test. The Commission has used a wide variety of steps to help Member States adapt to changing circumstances, from proposing new legislation, adapting the existing rules, to offering guidance and financial support. Infringement procedures have also been used where necessary, for instance to prevent export restrictions and to protect the rights of consumers.

Next Steps

Enforcement of EU law is not a one-off event but requires steady and sustained efforts by Member States and the Commission to promote the consistent and effective application of EU rules. A stocktaking exercise is currently under way within the Commission and with Member States to ensure that the best possible enforcement tools are available to make EU law work in practice. Particular attention is given to better monitoring of the proper application of Regulations, and to further increasing transparency of our enforcement activities. The Commission will report on its outcome in 2023.


The full, swift, and consistent implementation and application of EU law by Member States is key to make sure that people and businesses in the EU enjoy the benefits of commonly agreed rules as soon as possible. It ensures that people can count on their rights being respected at all times, wherever they live in the EU. This is particularly true when it comes to our shared values, the rule of law, security, the EU’s four freedoms, and the functioning of the Single Market.

The European Commission enforces EU laws and upholds the Treaties, as the ‘Guardian of the Treaties’. This overarching role gives the Commission central responsibility for enforcement. This is the basis on which the EU can make the most of the internal market, drive our transition to a greener and more digital Europe, protect and promote our values and the security of our Union, and ensure equal rights for all. Key work streams such as the annual Rule of Law reportsthe European Democracy Action Plan and the renewed strategy for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights combined represent a major intensification of work to strengthen the EU’s legal and democratic foundations.

For more information

Communication: Enforcing EU laws for a Europe that delivers


Applying EU law

Following dialogues with the Commission and the network of national consumer protection (CPC) authorities, multinational e-commerce business Shopify has committed to making several improvements to make shopping safer for customers, bringing it in line with EU rules. The dialogue first originated following the receipt of numerous complaints, which peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the European Consumer Centres. The complaints mainly related to web stores hosted by the platform, found to have engaged in illegal practices, such as making fake offers and fake scarcity claims, supplying counterfeit goods or not providing their contact details. The Commission, together with the CPC, and led by Belgium’s Directorate General for Economic Inspection, launched a dialogue with Shopify in July 2021, aimed at introducing changes to address the illegal practices of traders in its platform. Shopify has now committed to create a fast and effective ‘notice and action’ procedure for national consumer authorities and to change its templates to push traders to be more transparent towards consumers.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “Almost 75% of internet users in the EU are shopping online. This is a huge market for scammers and rogue traders to exploit, and they will continue to do so unless we act. We welcome Shopify’s commitment to ensure that traders operating on its platform are aware of their responsibilities under EU law, and are taken down if they break the rules.”

Main commitments:

To address the issue of web shops providing insufficient information about their companies, as well as missing mandatory information on consumer rights, Shopify has committed to:

  • Designing its templates for web shops contact pages and generators for Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policies and Refund Policies to include fields for company information and contact details;
  • Providing clear guidance to traders on the applicable EU consumer law;
  • Providing company details about any EU trader when requested by any national consumer authority.

To address breaches of EU consumer law by web shops notified by national consumer authorities in a faster and more efficient way, Shopify has agreed to take down the concerned web shops, as well as provide the relevant company details. Such breaches could include, for instance, fake scarcity claims, pressure selling, counterfeit goods, or undelivered products, for example.

Moreover, national consumer authorities have also agreed to reinforce their cooperation with the Canadian Competition Bureau against Shopify traders that are not based in the EU/EEA.

Next steps

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will actively monitor the implementation of these commitments, as well as any further complaints made by consumers.

In addition, actions at national level may be launched to ensure that EU standards are respected and to guarantee that all platforms abide by the same rules.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders. Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.

More Information

Common position of national authorities of the CPC Network

Factsheet on Shopify’s commitments

More information on consumer enforcement actions 

The Council today took an important step to ensure a safer online environment by approving the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA protects the digital space against the spread of illegal content and ensures the protection of users’ fundamental rights.

Jozef Síkela, Minister for Industry and Trade

The Digital Services Act is one of the EU’s most ground-breaking horizontal regulations and I am convinced it has the potential to become the ‘gold standard’ for other regulators in the world. By setting new standards for a safer and more accountable online environment, the DSA marks the beginning of a new relationship between online platforms and users and regulators in the European Union and beyond.

Jozef Síkela, Minister for Industry and Trade

The DSA is considered a world first in the field of digital regulation: no other legislative act has this level of ambition as regards regulating platforms and online supervision while preserving the core principles of the internal market.

New rules online

The DSA defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services, such as social media, online marketplaces, very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs). The rules are designed asymmetrically, which means that larger intermediary services with significant societal impact (VLOPs and VLOSEs) are subject to stricter rules.

Under the DSA, platforms will not only have to be more transparent, but will also be held accountable for their role in disseminating illegal and harmful content. Amongst other things, the DSA:

  • lays down special obligations for online marketplaces in order to combat the online sale of illegal products and services;
  • introduces measures to counter illegal content online and obligations for platforms to react quickly, while respecting fundamental rights;
  • better protects minors online by prohibiting platforms from using targeted advertising based on the use of minors’ personal data as defined in EU law;
  • imposes certain limits on the presentation of advertising and on the use of sensitive personal data for targeted advertising, including genderrace and religion;
  • bans misleading interfaces known as ‘dark patterns’and practices aimed at misleading

Stricter rules apply for very large online platforms and search engines (VLOPs and VLOSEs), which will have to:

  • offer users a system for recommending content that is not based on profiling;
  • analyse the systemic risks they create – risks related to the dissemination of illegal content, negative effects on fundamental rights, on electoral processes and on gender-based violence or mental health. 

Crisis mechanism

In the context of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the particular impact on the manipulation of online information, the DSA introduces a crisis response mechanism. This mechanism will make it possible to analyse the impact of the activities of VLOPs and VLOSEs on the crisis in question and rapidly decide on proportionate and effective measures to ensure the respect of fundamental rights.

Infographic – Digital Services Act

Individual bubbles to show the different EU member states and their e-commerce dataSee full infographic


The EU’s legal framework for digital services had not changed since the adoption of the e-commerce directive in 2000. In the meantime, digital technologies, business models and services have changed at an unprecedented pace. To keep up with this pace, the European Commission presented a digital services package comprising the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in December 2020.

The digital services package is the EU’s response to the need to regulate the digital space. Together, the DSA and the DMA define a framework adapted to the economic and democratic footprint of digital giants and introduce measures to protect users while supporting innovation in the digital economy.

On 25 November 2021, less than a year after the start of negotiations in the Council, member states unanimously agreed on the Council’s position on the DSA.

On 23 April 2022, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the DSA, which was endorsed by EU member states’ representatives on 15 June 2022.

The provisional agreement on the DMA was reached by the Council and the European Parliament on 24 March 2022 and signed by the Council and the European Parliament on 15 September 2022. The DMA will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 13 October 2022.

Next steps

Following the Council’s approval today of the European Parliament’s position, the legislative act was adopted.

After being signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will start to apply fifteen months after its entry into force.

Today, the Commission adopted two proposals to adapt liability rules to the digital age, circular economy and the impact of global value chains. Firstly, it proposes to modernise the existing rules on the strict liability of manufacturers for defective products (from smart technology to pharmaceuticals). The revised rules will give businesses legal certainty so they can invest in new and innovative products and will ensure that victims can get fair compensation when defective products, including digital and refurbished products, cause harm. Secondly, the Commission proposes for the first time a targeted harmonisation of national liability rules for AI, making it easier for victims of AI-related damage to get compensation. In line with the objectives of the AI White Paper and with the Commission’s 2021 AI Act proposal, setting out a framework for excellence and trust in AI – the new rules will ensure that victims benefit from the same standards of protection when harmed by AI products or services, as they would if harm was caused under any other circumstances.

Revised Product Liability Directive, fit for the green and digital transition and global value chains

The revised Directive modernises and reinforces the current well-established rules, based on the strict liability of manufacturers, for the compensation of personal injury, damage to property or data loss caused by unsafe products, from garden chairs to advanced machinery. It ensures fair and predictable rules for businesses and consumers alike by:

•  Modernising liability rules for circular economy business models: by ensuring that liability rules are clear and fair for companies that substantially modify products.

•  Modernising liability rules for products in the digital age: allowing compensation for damage when products like robots, drones or smart-home systems are made unsafe by software updates, AI or digital services that are needed to operate the product, as well as when manufacturers fail to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

•  Creating a more level playing field between EU and non-EU manufacturers: when consumers are injured by unsafe products imported from outside the EU, they will be able to turn to the importer or the manufacturer’s EU representative for compensation.

•  Putting consumers on an equal footing with manufacturers: by requiring manufacturers to disclose evidence, by introducing more flexibility to the time restrictions to introduce claims, and by alleviating the burden of proof for victims in complex cases, such as those involving pharmaceuticals or AI.

Easier access to redress for victims AI Liability Directive

The purpose of the AI Liability Directive is to lay down uniform rules for access to information and alleviation of the burden of proof in relation to damages caused by AI systems, establishing broader protection for victims (be it individuals or businesses), and fostering the AI sector by increasing guarantees. It will harmonise certain rules for claims outside of the scope of the Product Liability Directive, in cases in which damage is caused due to wrongful behaviour. This covers, for example, breaches of privacy, or damages caused by safety issues. The new rules will, for instance, make it easier to obtain compensation if someone has been discriminated in a recruitment process involving AI technology.

The Directive simplifies the legal process for victims when it comes to proving that someone’s fault led to damage, by introducing two main features: first, in circumstances where a relevant fault has been established and a causal link to the AI performance seems reasonably likely, the so called ‘presumption of causality’ will address the difficulties experienced by victims in having to explain in detail how harm was caused by a specific fault or omission, which can be particularly hard when trying to understand and navigate complex AI systems. Second, victims will have more tools to seek legal reparation, by introducing a right of access to evidence from companies and suppliers, in cases in which high-risk AI is involved.

The new rules strike a balance between protecting consumers and fostering innovation, removing additional barriers for victims to access compensation, while laying down guarantees for the AI sector by introducing, per instance, the right to fight a liability claim based on a presumption of causality.

Members of the College said:

 Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová said: “We want the AI technologies to thrive in the EU. For this to happen, people need to trust digital innovations. With today’s proposal on AI civil liability we give customers tools for remedies in case of damage caused by AI so that they have the same level of protection as with traditional technologies and we ensure legal certainty for our internal market.”

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The Product Liability Directive has been a cornerstone of the internal market for four decades. Today’s proposal will make it fit to respond to the challenges of the decades to come. The new rules will reflect global value chains, foster innovation and consumer trust, and provide stronger legal certainty for businesses involved in the green and digital transition.”

 Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “While considering the huge potential of new technologies, we must always ensure the safety of consumers. Proper standards of protection for EU citizens are the basis for consumer trust and therefore successful innovation. New technologies like drones or delivery services operated by AI can only work when consumers feel safe and protected. Today, we propose modern liability rules that will do just that. We make our legal framework fit for the realities of the digital transformation.”

Next steps

The Commission’s proposal will now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

It is proposed that five years after the entry into force of the AI Liability Directive, the Commission will assess the need for no-fault liability rules for AI-related claims if necessary.


The current EU rules on product liability, based on the strict liability of manufacturers, are almost 40 years old. Modern rules on liability are important for the green and digital transformation, specifically to adapt to new technologies, like Artificial Intelligence. This is about providing legal certainty for businesses and ensuring consumers are well protected in case something goes wrong.

In her Political Guidelines, President von der Leyen laid out a coordinated European approach on Artificial Intelligence. The Commission has undertaken to promote the uptake of AI and to holistically address the risks associated with its uses and potential damages.

In its White Paper on AI of 19 February 2020, the Commission undertook to promote the uptake of AI and to address the risks associated with some of its uses by fostering excellence and trust. In the Report on AI Liability accompanying the White Paper, the Commission identified the specific challenges posed by AI to existing liability rules.

The Commission adopted its proposal for the AI Act, which lays down horizontal rules on artificial intelligence, focusing on the prevention of damage, in April 2021. The AI Act is a flagship initiative for ensuring safety and trustworthiness of high-risk AI systems developed and used in the EU. It will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation. Today’s AI liability package complements the AI Act by facilitating fault-based civil liability claims for damages, laying down a new standard of trust in reparation.

The AI Liability Directive adapts private law to the new challenges brought by AI. Together with the revision of the Product Liability Directive, these initiatives complement the Commission’s effort to make liability rules fit for the green and digital transition.

For More Information

Proposal for a Directive on adapting non contractual civil liability rules to artificial intelligence   

Proposal: Revision of the Product Liability Directive

Questions & Answers: AI Liability Directive

Questions & Answers: Product Liability Directive

Liability rules on Artificial Intelligence

Liability of defective products 

Commission White Paper on Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust

Commission Report on the safety and liability implications of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics

Expert Group report on Liability for artificial intelligence and other emerging digital technologies

Comparative Law Study on Civil Liability for Artificial Intelligence


Today we celebrate World Tourism Day. For this occasion, ECC Malta would like to share some tips on how to prevent financial surprises when planning your well-deserved holiday break. Hidden extra charges can be very annoying, especially when you have a limited budget and have not planned these additional costs. Below we have listed the most common additional charges that one may encounter during a holiday. 

Additional costs in hotels

Almost every hotel has specific check-in times. Therefore, if you arrive at the hotel early in the morning and wish to go straight to your room, you need to inform the hotel beforehand about this since you will probably be charged extra for the early check-in. Beware of other additional charges, such as parking fees, for using the safe, the TV in your room, or Wi-Fi. Sometimes these facilities are complimentary with the booking; however, this may not be the case, especially with budget hotels.

If you want to bring your pet, always search for pet-friendly hotels and be aware this usually will come at a cost. Furthermore, in some hotels, a cleaning fee may be added to your bill; sometimes, it may apply even without pets. It is also important to note that a local tourism tax is levied in several EU countries. 

Good to know: You have the right to be informed about any additional costs and the respective fees which are not included in the booking before concluding the contract. This information should be available on the booking page or in the hotel’s general terms and conditions. It must be clearly indicated if additional services are offered at the location like towel rental and use of faster internet.

Additional costs for package tours

Package tours come in handy when you want a hassle-free holiday. It would help if you kept in mind that under certain conditions, the organiser could increase the price by up to 8% even after booking. Such circumstances include, for example, variations in the costs of fuel and kerosene, changes in port or airport taxes, or when there are currency fluctuations.

However, the travel organiser is obliged to justify on a durable medium that there is an increase in the price, not later than 20 days before the start of the package tour. The travel organiser must also inform you about the possibility of a price adjustment before the contract is concluded. It is also a prerequisite that the calculation of the new price is transparent.

However, if the cost increases were foreseeable at the time of booking or if one of the above conditions is not met, you may refuse payment. Similarly, the price increase is also effective without your consent if all the above conditions are met.

If the price increases by more than 8%, the organiser must inform you and request that you explicitly accept the increase within a certain period or withdraw from the contract. The price increase is considered accepted if you do not respond within this period. Thus react in time if you do not wish to accept the price rise.

Additional costs for flights

Before booking, passengers must be informed of the airfare, including all taxes, fees and surcharges. However, you should still be aware of any additional services you may incur, such as check-in at the airport (instead of online), checked baggage, seat selection, meals, etc.

Tips on how to Recognize & avoid additional costs 

  • Read offers carefully and check which services are included before you book. In case of doubt, contact the hotel or the tour operator.
  • Read customer reviews to see if other guests have complained about unexpected additional costs.
  • Ask for the bill before the end of your stay to detect extra charges.
  • Book cancellable rates. These might be more expensive, but you may save on high cancellation fees.
  • Before choosing extra travel insurance: Check if the insurance on your credit card is sufficient.
  • If you book “all inclusive”, you will have fewer surprises regarding food and beverage costs.
  • Book well in advance.
  • Use a less popular airport.
  • Book in the off-season or on less busy weekdays.
  • Instead of using hotel parking, choose free public parking lots.



Press contact:

ECC Net Malta – ecc.malta@mccaa.org.mt 

The Commission and national consumer authorities have just received the confirmation from 16 major European airlines,  that they reimbursed over 500,000 flight vouchers that they had imposed on consumers for cancelled flights during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the result of the dialogue that the Commission and the Consumer Protection Network (CPC Network) conducted in 2021 to address the consequences of the massive and unprecedented flight cancellations which happened in the early stages of the pandemic.

As part of the 2021 dialogue, the airlines committed to measures to bring their practices in line with EU consumer and passenger rights law. The commitments include: clearing reimbursement backlogs and reimbursing passengers timely; better informing consumers of their cancellation-related rights; and offering consumers to exchange vouchers for money in all cases where vouchers had been imposed on consumers previously.

The airlines’ reports on the implementation of the commitments show that airlines cleared the bulk of their reimbursement backlogs and adapted their websites, e-mail and other communication to better inform consumers of their rights when a flight is cancelled. Airlines also contacted more than 2.5 million consumers holding unused vouchers that had been pushed on them and more than 500,000 of those consumers decided to get their money back.

In addition, in light of the current situation, with many travellers impacted by delays and cancellations of flights, these commitments made during the pandemic by airlines remain relevant and applicable. The Commission will therefore continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure that it is dealt with in strict compliance with consumer and passenger rights.

Next steps

As a follow-up to the dialogue with the airlines, the CPC Network recently launched a dialogue on the practices of four major European airline intermediaries: eDreams ODIGEO, Etraveli, Kiwi.com and Otravo. It addresses mainly the following issues: information on consumers’ cancellation-related rights; reimbursements following flight cancellations; and intermediaries’ customer service.

In parallel, as announced in its New Consumer Agenda of November 2020 and building on a report issued in 2021, the Commission is currently carrying out a review of the Package Travel Directive, as well as of the Passenger rights rules, taking into account the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 crisis. The Commission intends to present its proposals in 2023.

Members of the College said:

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “Airlines have overall implemented their commitments regarding the massive cancelation crisis of 2020. The bulk of reimbursement backlogs has been cleared, consumers are better informed of their rights and millions of euros were reimbursed. I however call on airlines to keep up with these efforts, also now as travellers are experiencing again numerous delays and cancellations. We will closely follow up and check how passengers will be reimbursed or paid compensation if relevant to ensure a strict and diligent application of EU rules.”


The coordinated investigation of CPC authorities into airlines’ cancellation practices was triggered by an alert of the Commission in December 2020 based on information from various sources, including BEUC, the EU-level federation of consumer associations, and the French and Belgian consumer organisations UFC-Que Choisir and Test achats/Test aankoop

In February 2021, the CPC Network led by six coordinating authorities – Belgian FPS Economy, German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt, Greek Civil Aviation Authority, Italian Competition Authority, Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Swedish Consumer Agency – and assisted by the Commission sent a survey to the 16 airlines generating the highest numbers of complaints from consumers across the Union.

Following an evaluation of the replies received from the airlines, the Commission and the CPC Network then elaborated a list of measures and urged the airlines to improve their practices with the help of that list. The commitments proposed by the airlines to undertake relevant measures were discussed and finalised in individual dialogues during the months of August and September 2021.

In spring 2022, the airlines reported to the CPC network on where they stand with the implementation of their commitments.

The coordinated investigation of CPC authorities into the practices of airline intermediaries is a follow-up to the dialogue with airlines that had cast a spotlight also on the role of airline intermediaries in the context of flight cancellations. European Consumer Centres (ECCs), coordinated by ECC France, have transmitted information to the CPC network on the most frequent issues in complaints against airline intermediaries. The four airline intermediaries with whom the CPC Network launched a dialogue operate some of the largest airline intermediary platforms in the EU. The dialogue is coordinated by the Swedish Consumer Agency.

In parallel, following the mass cancellations due to the pandemic, the Commission took legal action against 10 Member States for breaching EU rules package travel. Throughout the crisis, the Commission consistently made clear that consumer rights remain valid and national measures to support the industry must not lower them. On 13 May 2020, the Commission adopted a specific Recommendation on vouchers to support Member States in setting up attractive, reliable and flexible voucher schemes. Currently, all Member States have aligned their national legislations with the EU rules. However, the case against one Member State is still pending before to the Court of the EU.

For More Information

Consumer protection: Airlines commit to timely reimbursement after flight cancellations – 30 September 2021

Coordinated consumer actions: air travel

Consumer Protection Cooperation Network

Following a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, Amazon has committed to bringing its cancellation practices in line with EU consumer rules. The platform will enable consumers from the EU and EEA to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with just two clicks, using a prominent and clear “cancel button”. This change was necessary to comply with the EU rules on consumer protection and, in particular, with the Unfair commercial practices Directive. Following a complaint by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the Norwegian Consumer Council and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, an action was launched in April 2021 by the Commission in cooperation with national consumer authorities. The reported cancellation practices consisted in a large number of hurdles to unsubscribe, including complicated navigation menus, skewed wording, confusing choices, and repeated nudging. Amazon has now committed to improve its cancellation policy and will implement the changes as of today.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “Opting for an online subscriptions can be very handy for consumers as it is often a very straightforward process, but the reverse action of unsubscribing should be just as easy. Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms. One thing is clear: manipulative design or “dark patterns” must be banned. I welcome Amazon’s commitment to simplify their practices to allow consumers to unsubscribe freely and easily.”

Previously, to cancel their subscription, consumers had to scroll through multiple pages containing distracting information and unclear button labels. As a first measure resulting from this dialogue initiated in 2021, Amazon started making changes to its Prime web interface, labelling the cancel button more clearly and shortening the explanatory text. From now, this text will be further reduced so that consumers do not get distracted by warnings and deterred from cancelling. Overall, as a result of the dialogue, the platform will now enable consumers to unsubscribe in two simple steps, through an easy and visible cancellation button.

Amazon has committed to implementing these changes on all its EU websites and for all devices (desktop, mobile and tablet).

Next steps

The Commission and national authorities will continue to monitor the implementation of Amazon’s commitments to align with EU consumer law. 


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders. Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.

More information

Coordinated actions on Market places and digital services

More information on consumer enforcement actions



Screenshots of the new cancelation procedure, that Amazon committed to implement:

Screenshots of the previous cancellation procedure (source: Report “You can log out, but you can never leave”, Norwegian Consumer Council) to illustrate distracting information and button labels

Screenshots of the previous cancellation procedure



Screenshots of the previous cancellation procedure


Screenshots of the previous cancellation procedure

Tomorrow, 1 July 2022, the new improved Roaming regulation enters into force. It extends “Roam-like-at-home” until 2032 – the scheme thanks to which travellers in the EU and the EEA can call, text and surf abroad without extra charges. The new rules will also bring about significant benefits for EU businesses and citizens, who will enjoy a better roaming experience, with the same quality of mobile service abroad as they have at home. The new rules also improve access to emergency communications across the EU and guarantee clear information about services that may be subject to extra charges.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “With our roaming regulation we have all benefitted from Roam-like-at-home. We can call, text and use the Internet without extra costs when we travel in the EU. This is a very tangible benefit of our European Single Market. Prolonging these rules will keep inter-operator prices competitive, and allow consumers to continue enjoying free-of-charge roaming services for the next ten years.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: Remember when we had to switch off mobile data when travelling in Europe — to avoid ending up with a massive roaming bill? Well this is history. And we intend to keep it this way for at least the next 10 years. Better speed, more transparency: we keep improving EU citizens’ lives.”

Better mobile internet speed while travelling

Consumers now will have the right to the same quality of mobile internet abroad, as the one they have at home. Operators providing mobile services should ensure that consumers have access to use 4G, or the more advanced 5G, networks, if these are available at the destination the consumer is visiting. Consumers should be able to find information about network availability in their mobile service contracts and on the operators’ websites.

Preventing unexpected hidden charges

When consumers travel by planes or on boats, mobile phones may automatically connect to the on-board network, provided by satellites. Using mobile connection services provided by non-terrestrial networks may be subject to very high surcharges. The new roaming rules oblige operators to protect their consumers and notify them if their phones switch to a non-terrestrial networks. Additionally, operators should automatically interrupt mobile services if the mobile services over non-terrestrial networks reach charges of €50 or another predefined limit. Operators may also offer additional services, such as the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats.  

More information for better choices

Consumers should be able to make informed decisions about using services that may subject them to additional costs. When travelling abroad, calling customer service, insurance and airline helpdesks, or SMS texting to participate in contests or events, may be more expensive than it costs at home. Operators have to make sure to provide consumers with information about the types of phone numbers that may carry additional costs when consumers dial or access them from abroad. Operators should inform consumers via automatic SMS messages sent when crossing the border to another EU country, as well as in the service contracts.

112 – Emergency communication while travelling

The new roaming rules are ensuring that citizens are aware of the single EU emergency number 112, which they can use anywhere in the EU to reach emergency services. By June 2023, operators should send automatic messages to their customers who travel abroad to inform them about the available alternative means of reaching emergency services, such as through real time text or apps. Those citizens who are not able to make voice calls may use these alternative means.

Lower inter-operator prices, better conditions for consumers

The new Roaming regulation sets lower wholesale charges, the cost to operators for using networks abroad to provide services to their customers when they are abroad. The wholesale caps are set at levels that ensure that operators can sustain and recover the cost of providing roaming services to consumers at domestic prices:

  • For data services, the new regulation sets the following wholesale caps: 2 €/GB in 2022, 1.8 €/GB in 2023, 1.55 €/GB in 2024, 1.3 €/GB in 2025, 1.1 €/GB in 2026 and 1 EUR/GB from 2027 onwards.
  • For voice: 0.022 €/min in 2022-2024 and 0.019 €/min from 2025 onwards.
  • For SMS: 0.004 €/SMS in 2022-2024 and 0.003 €/SMS from 2025 onwards.

Lower wholesale charges benefit consumers, as they should ensure that all operators are able to offer competitive roaming subscriptions in line with the ‘Roam like at home’ principle.


Thanks to the EU Roaming regulation since 2017, citizens have been enjoying free roaming to call, text and use mobile data abroad in the EU without additional charges. A review of the rules has shown that there was room for improvement. In the latest Eurobarometer from February 2021, 33% of respondents who travelled abroad had lower mobile internet speed than they usually had at home, and 28% had a lower network standard abroad (i.e. a 3G network instead of 4G). Furthermore, a study conducted by the Joint Research Centre found that 25% of customers had, at least once, experienced worse quality of service in roaming compared to at home, even when network conditions could have provided better quality. As the previous Roaming regulation was due to expire on 30 June 2020 and, in order to allow all mobile phone and Internet users to continue being connected at no extra charge when travelling across Member States, the Commission had proposed in February 2021 a new improved Roaming regulation. It enters into force tomorrow, 1 July.

For More Information

About Roaming

Updated Questions and Answers on the new Roaming Regulation

Questions and answers about how ‘Roam like at home’ works

Reports and Studies about Roaming

Following dialogues with the Commission and the network of national consumer protection (CPC) authorities, TikTok has committed to align its practices with the EU rules on advertising and consumer protection, namely, the Unfair commercial practices Directive, the Consumer rights Directive and the Unfair contract terms Directive.  This dialogue first originated from a complaint of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). In February 2021, BEUC raised the alarm regarding certain problematic practices of TikTok allegedly breaching EU consumer rules. For instance, BEUC had found that the social media platform was failing to protect children from hidden advertising and inappropriate content. Following the complaint, the Commission, together with the CPC, and led by the Irish and Swedish consumer authorities, launched a dialogue with TikTok. The series of concerns have now been addressed and TikTok committed to change its practices.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “All social media platforms are required to play by the rules and make sure that consumers can easily identify commercial content, including when promoted by influencers. We welcome TikTok’s commitment for more transparency in the way it operates its business activity. Thanks to our dialogue, consumers will be able to spot all kinds of advertisement that they are exposed to when using this platform. Despite today’s commitment, we will continue to monitor the situation in the future, paying particular attention to the effects on young users.”

Overview of main commitments:  

  • Users can now report advertisements and offers that could potentially push or trick children into purchasing goods or services;
  • Branded content now abides by a policy protecting users, which prohibits the promotion of inappropriate products and services, such as alcohol, “get rich quick” schemes and cigarettes;
  • Users are prompted to switch on a toggle when they publish content captioned with specific brand-related keywords such as #ad or #sponsored;
  • If a user has more than 10,000 followers, their videos are reviewed by TikTok against its Branded Content Policy and Community Guidelines to ensure that the content is appropriate;
  • Policies clarify how to purchase and use coins, and pop-up windows will provide the estimated price in local currencies. Consumers are allowed to withdraw within 14 days from the purchase, and their purchase history is also available;
  • Policies also clarify how to get rewards from TikTok and how to send gifts, for which users will be able to easily calculate their price;
  • Paid advertisement in videos will be identified with a new label, which will be tested for effectiveness by a third party;
  • Users are able to report undisclosed branded content, and new rules for hashtags and labels will be implemented.

Next steps

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will actively monitor the implementation of these commitments, in 2022 and beyond. Data Protection Authorities will remain competent to assess compliance of the new policies and practices of the company with EU data protection rules.

CPC authorities will, in particular, monitor and assess compliance where concerns remain, such as whether there is sufficient clarity around children’s understanding of the commercial aspects of TikTok’s practices. For example, for what concerns personalised advertising, in light of the recently published “5 key principles of fair advertising to children

The CPC will also carefully check the outcome of the testing of labels, as well as their implementation, and the adequacy of the display of the estimated unit price per coin in local currency when sending a gift. In addition, actions at national level may be launched to ensure that EU standards are respected and to guarantee that all platforms abide by the same rules.


The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders. Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.

More information

CPC actions: social media and search engines


The Commission welcomes the swift provisional political agreement reached this morning between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution adopted in September 2021. As of 2024, all new handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld videogame consoles, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, and earbuds will have to be equipped with a USB-C charging port. The deadline for laptops is 2026.

Leveraging the power of the Single Market, these new and long-awaited rules will bring resource and CO2 savings while allowing technological innovation.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “No more bundles of different chargers in our drawers. One common charger is a real benefit to us as consumers. It will also help our environment. So we welcome today’s agreement of the common charger following a swift conclusion of negotiations between the co-legislators.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market, said: “A common charger is common sense for the many electronic devices on our daily lives. Thanks to our strong political commitment, we found an agreement in less than 9 months. European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste. The deal we struck this morning will bring around 250 million euros of savings to consumers annually.  It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation to become source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience.”

Today’s agreement reached by the co-legislators confirms and extends the Commission’s proposal:

•  The charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonised: first, USB-C will be the common port. This will allow consumers to charge their devices with the same USB-C charger, regardless of the device brand. At the same time, harmonising fast charging technology will help prevent that different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device. These rules will now apply to a range of electronic devices mentioned above. More devices may be included in the future following regular assessment of the market by the Commission.

•  Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will limit the number of unwanted chargers purchased or left unused. The results produced and the possible extension of the measure to the cable will be assessed in the course of the implementation.

•  Improved information for consumers: producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to see if their existing chargers meet the requirements of their new device or help them to select a compatible charger.

•  Setting the way for harmonised wireless charging solutions: since the technology is evolving rapidly and in order to limit a potential future fragmentation of the market, the Commission will assess the different technologies available in view of a possible future harmonisation, and will request to European Standardisation Organisations that the appropriate solution is translated into a harmonised standard. 

The agreement reached today also ensures that the common charger solutions can be implemented without delay, especially given the widely available technological solutions and ample time already given to industry to adapt. A transition period of 24 months from official adoption is therefore established to make the common charger a reality for everyone for all categories of products in scope except for laptops which will benefit from 40 months.


In 2020, approximately 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. However, due to incompatible chargers on the market more than a third of consumers report having experiencing problems, while spending approximately €2.4 billion annually on additional standalone chargers. At the same time, disposed of and unused chargers contribute to around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.

The Commission has supported a common charging solution for mobile phones and similar electronic devices since 2009. While years of working with industry on a voluntary approach helped to bring down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, this approach did not allow achieve the full harmonisation. With regards to the unbundling of chargers, there was currently no legal basis to frame such a practice. Since it delivers significant environmental benefits, it is important to complement the harmonisation of the charging receptacle. Additionally, the harmonisation of the charging protocol ensures that both provisions guarantee the full interoperability and retrieve the biggest benefits for consumers and the environment. Those benefits will be enhanced by the broadening of the list of categories of products covered. With regards to wireless charging, the Commission will monitor the evolution of the technologies and market dynamic with the objective of introducing a future harmonisation. 

For More Information

Press release on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices

Factsheet on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices


Today, the Commission has adopted a new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+), to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online.

Read more…

Today, the Commission is proposing new EU legislation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse online. With 85 million pictures and videos depicting child sexual abuse reported worldwide in 2021 alone, and many more going unreported, child sexual abuse is pervasive. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, with the Internet Watch foundation noting a 64% increase in reports of confirmed child sexual abuse in 2021 compared to the previous year. The current system based on voluntary detection and reporting by companies has proven to be insufficient to adequately protect children and, in any case, will no longer be possible once the interim solution currently in place expires. Up to 95% of all reports of child sexual abuse received in 2020 came from one company, despite clear evidence that the problem does not only exist on one platform. not only exist on one platform.  

Read more….

Today, the Commission is proposing to update the EU consumer rules to empower consumers for the green transition. The updated rules will ensure that consumers can take informed and environment-friendly choices when buying their products. Consumers will have a right to know how long a product is designed to last for and how, if at all, it can be repaired. In addition, the rules will strengthen consumer protection against untrustworthy or false environmental claims, banning ‘greenwashing’ and practices misleading consumers about the durability of a product.

Read more…





Press release


15 March, 2022

World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March: Best sustainable practices from all over Europe


By 2050, Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent. The European Green Deal package highlights measures that will improve the well-being and health of citizens and future generations.

The consumer protection sector is also covered in these measures by introducing concrete initiatives which promote longer-lasting products that can be repaired, recycled and reused.

Numerous schemes and campaigns are being introduced by various National organisations promoting a more sustainable consumer environment. Some of these actions also go beyond EU legislation. This World Consumer Rights Day – 15th March 2022, the ECC Net Malta will highlight some of these sustainable best practices from all over the EU together with the Maltese initiatives.  


The country is fighting tons of electronic waste with repair vouchers. These vouchers cover half of the repair costs for consumers up to a maximum of 200 €, encouraging citizens to invest money into repairs instead of throwing away broken electronic devices and buying new ones. The programme, which was a success in Vienna since 2020, was extended to the whole country.


In Belgium, you can find second-hand shops called “De Kringwinkel” or “Les Petits Riens” with locations all over the country. Anyone can drop off furniture, kitchen utensils and similar items they no longer need or acquire them at a bargain price.


A multinational clothing company operating in Bulgaria encourages consumers to bring outworn clothes to their stores. Clothes are accepted on-site, and the trader takes care to get these clothes reused or recycled. When handing in their old clothes at the shop, customers receive a voucher to redeem at their next purchase.


The Croatian online platform “Burza otpada” (waste exchange) brings together companies and promotes the exchange of information on the supply and demand of secondary raw materials arising from production processes or resulting from waste management processes. The project, launched in 2017, has an indirect impact on the consumers since it aims to reduce waste disposal and a sustainable approach to primary resources management, improving the living environment for all.


Cyprus promotes incentive sponsorship to purchase a new bicycle apart from subsidising the repair and maintenance of a used bicycle. The country also prohibits the free disposal of plastic bags at points of sale.


“Too Good To Go” is a mobile app developed in Denmark in 2015 to fight food waste. Restaurants or shops post unsold leftover food or meals they would otherwise throw away. Customers can check the app to see what is available in their area and pick up the food at reasonable prices. A win-win situation for consumers, restaurants and the environment simultaneously.


France encourages consumers to choose repair over replacement with a new product for defective products. For example, they are suspending the legal guarantee of conformity while a product is being repaired or granting a six-month extension of the guarantee if a consumer asks a trader to repair the product. France even has a 2-year guarantee renewal if the trader exchanges an appliance instead of repairing it as requested.


With an amendment to the German law on the circular economy, the country wants to stop overproduction, the destruction of new goods and unnecessary returns. Up to now, especially electronic goods and clothing often end up in the trash bin, although they are functioning and like new. Manufacturers and retailers will be held more accountable in the future, and they will have to document how they deal with unsold goods, e.g. if they donate them or resell them at a lower price.


The Italian platform NeXt-Nuova Economia per tutti provides an overview of sustainable best practices across the country. Whether these are carried out by companies, schools, municipalities or start-ups, the tool “Vote for Your Wallet” encourages consumers to take responsibility and make informed, conscious purchase choices.


Several Latvian fuel stations encourage consumers to bring their reusable coffee cups. One of the largest retail chains with hundreds of retailing places also follows this practice. Customers who bring their cups get a 10 to 15 per cent discount on their coffee to reduce the number of waste cups in the country.


Luxembourg is the first country in the world to offer free public transport. Since 2020, both residents and tourists can hop on the train, tram or bus without buying a ticket. The aim is to raise awareness for environmentally friendly mobility.


The Beverage Container Refund Scheme incentivises the return of single-use beverage containers by applying a refundable deposit of €0.10c on the sales of beverages (These include water, carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, ciders, beers, ready to drink coffee and dilutable in glass, PET or metal bottles and cans). The refund scheme will be implemented in Malta from 1st April 2022. In addition, a network of Reverse Vending Machines shall be available to consumers all over Malta and Gozo for returns of beverage containers.

Water Point is an organisation aiming at helping the environment by reducing plastic bottles waste. Water Point filling stations were installed all over Malta to provide fresh micro filtrated water at an affordable price (15 Euro cent per litre). These vending machines filter the water directly from the main water supply and refrigerate still or sparkling water. Currently, there are nine water dispensing machines strategically placed all over Malta.

The Don’t Waste Waste campaign is an educational and awareness-raising campaign on waste management. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of waste management to drive a cultural shift in behaviour whereby waste is considered a resource. Businesses implementing good waste management practices will be benefiting from free advertising/promotion of such initiatives as examples of good practice.

WATER – BE THE CHANGE is a national water conservation campaign launched in September 2019 to deliver an effective educational and awareness-raising campaign on optimising and efficient use of water resources. The campaign will run for three years targeting the domestic, commercial, and agricultural sectors. Gift packs are being distributed door-to-door in all localities in Malta and Gozo. The kit includes gadgets and information on reducing the water bills and saving water.


Rotterdam-based “Pieter Pot” is the first package-free, circular online supermarket in the Netherlands. Consumers buy their products in bulk, and the supermarket delivers them in deposit glass jars, while used jars can be returned to the delivery driver to be washed and filled again. Forbes reports that package-free supermarkets could save up to 20 kg of plastic per person per year.


There is a deposit scheme for recyclable bottles and cans in Norway that all Norwegians are familiar with. Recycling machines are stationed at the entrance of all supermarkets, and you get a refund of the deposit you paid when purchasing the bottle or can. Last year more than 92 % of all bottles and cans in Norway were recycled.


An architectural studio from Wrocław has created a project for a mobile hotel made of an isothermal refrigerated truck. They use trailer trucks we usually see on the road, used to transport food. The project involves upcycling, i.e. increasing the value of the material and repurposing cooling trucks into hotel rooms. “Good spot” is the first complex in Poland offering this type of mobile accommodation.


The Portuguese government has launched a programme to fight energy poverty. It subsidises work on houses to make them more energy-efficient. For example, building insulation, sustainable heating or improvements to windows and doors.


In Slovenia, the Reuse Centre, a non-profit organisation, carries out sustainable consumption activities according to the motto: reduce, repair, reuse. For example, they allow consumers to participate in the repair of products and teach them proper maintenance. They also manufacture new products from existing ones (upcycling).


Sweden has reduced its VAT rate of 25% to 12% for repair services for bicycles, shoes, leather goods, clothing, and household linen. Craftsmen can offer discounts of up to 50% on repairs of large electric appliances – the state pays the difference.


Press contact:

ECC Net Malta – ecc.malta@mccaa.org.mt 


This press release was funded by the European Union. The content of this visual represents the views of the author only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

The European Commission today set out guidelines for businesses, governments and citizens to prepare for the end of the transition period, regardless of whether and what kind of deal is agreed between the EU and the U.K.

“Even in case of the most ambitious future partnership … there will be far-reaching and automatic changes and consequences for citizens, consumers, businesses, public administrations, investors, students and researchers, as of 1 January 2021,” the document reads.

It lists changes that will take place in the EU from January 1, 2021 when it comes to customs checks, tariffs and VAT, financial services and recognition of professional qualifications, energy cooperation, travel and tourism, legal contracts, data and intellectual property, and EU agreements with third countries.

The paper, addressed to the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, also calls on EU countries to raise awareness of the consequences of Brexit.

It insists that the document “in no way seeks to prejudge the outcome of negotiations, nor to examine the possible implications of a failure to reach an agreement on a future partnership.”

Talks between the EU and the U.K. this week again failed to break the impasse in the negotiations. An EU spokesperson said today that “significant divergences” remain between both sides.

The document states that while “negotiations so far have shown little progress,” the Commission’s objective is “to conclude, by the end of 2020, an ambitious partnership covering all areas agreed with the United Kingdom in the Political Declaration.”

More information: https://ec.europa.eu/info/european-union-and-united-kingdom-forging-new-partnership/future-partnership/getting-ready-end-transition-period_en

Press release

 May 7, 2021

Since March 2020, consumers have even more than before turned to the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) for help with cross-border problems. The network has recovered a total of over 4 million euros since the beginning of the pandemic for consumers whose flights were cancelled, whose hotels were closed or who suffered another COVID-19 related breach of their rights, for example an online purchase that went wrong due to the pandemic.

The ECC-Net helps to get a refund

Not being able to travel is one thing. Losing money is another. The European network helps consumers who cannot find an agreement with the tour operator or any other company based in another EU country, Iceland or Norway.

Especially since the pandemic, it repeatedly happens that travellers have the lawful right to get a refund, but only receive a partial amount or nothing at all. Or they are offered a voucher when in fact they are entitled to an immediate refund. This is exactly where the network comes in. In almost 70 % of the disputes it received, it has been able to achieve a positive and out-of-court solution for the consumer.

ECC-Net COVID-19 year in figures

Between March 2020 and March 2021, the network received 170,000 enquiries from consumers across Europe whose consumer rights had been infringed or who had a question about European consumer law.

This is 44 % more than in the same period the year before. The vast majority of enquiries related to the tourism sector: cancelled flights, consumers who did not want to or could not travel due to the pandemic, closed accommodation or cancelled package holidays.




Each EU country as well as Iceland and Norway have a European Consumer Centre. Together they form the ECC-Net. The ECC-Net informs consumers in Europe about their rights and provides free help with cross-border problems. It is co-financed by the European Commission. The network cooperates with the UK International Consumer Centre.

Press release

December 15, 2021

On 16th December 2021, the European Consumer Centre Network will launch an information hub for European consumers. Through this new website, European consumers can find all the answers to their questions about consumer rights and entitlements on the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net)’s brand new website.

Members from the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Italy, Cyprus, and Germany worked together to produce a clear and comprehensive source of information and answers to all relevant issues and dilemmas faced by European consumers. This new user-friendly digital platform is a complete and practical guide to consumer protections under European Union law.

The ECC-Net offers European consumers advice on their consumer rights and legal protection when shopping and travelling in another European Union Member or European Economic Area country. The new website gives consumers practical guidance on how to exercise their consumer rights and where to turn to for help when something goes wrong. ECC-Net, will assist consumers by finding an amicable out-of-court solution to consumer-business disputes following cross-border transactions. Where necessary, they liaise directly with the business and ensure that the consumer is informed of their rights and receives expert assistance in their language.

Apart from all the information on the new website eccnet.eu, you can also find the contact details of all European Consumer Centres, including Norway and Iceland, to get in touch with a question or to submit a complaint about a cross-border business.

The ECC-Net’s updates on the launch of the new website are available on the Twitter channel:  twitter.com/ECC_web

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