Support to more than 1 million European consumers: ECC-Net celebrates 15 years of cross-border consumer protection

What to do when your flight to Poland is cancelled? When the handbag you bought in Italy is damaged? When you are caught in a subscription trap? Since its creation, the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) has assisted more than one million consumers with issues like these. In the context of COVID-19 outbreak alone, over 90,0000 consumers turned to ECC-Net for help. Today, the Network celebrates its 15th anniversary.

An online event with European Commissioner Didier Reynders will be an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the European consumer rights movement and discuss the way forward for effective consumer protection in Europe. The celebration occurs against the backdrop of a newly adopted Consumer Agenda, which outlines the Commission priorities in consumer policy for the coming five years. The event is a unique gathering of key stakeholders in the field bringing together senior officials from the European Commission, consumer representatives, enforcement authorities, young journalists, academics and more.

On Twitter, the network will tweet live under #15yearsECCNet.

“An essential feature for the Union’s consumer cooperation”

Commissioner Didier Reynders wishes ECC-Net a happy birthday by saying: "I am convinced that the European Consumer Centres Network with its practical support to consumers will remain in the future an essential feature of the Union’s consumer cooperation”.

Petra De Sutter, former IMCO chair and current Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, adds: "I can‘t help but support the work that the centres undertake on a daily basis. We as legislators can make as many regulations as we want to protect consumers. Nevertheless, consumers have to be aware of the existence of this protection”.

Website launch, report on 15 years of milestones and a look into the future

On the 21st of November, the Network launches its website where a report on 15 years of milestones and ECC Net achievements will be available.

A chapter dedicated to the future sets out a vision for the network offering improved service to consumers in a digitalised world and striving to support and promote sustainable consumption.

With this anniversary, ECC-Net comes of age as an established, respected and essential player in European consumer protection. We look forward to the next one million European consumers we will assist”, says Bianca Schulz, director of European Consumer Centre France.

Karen Ghysels, director of the European Consumer Centre in Belgium adds: “The launch is part of a year when ECC-Net was really put to the test with more than 90,000 questions and complaints from consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It makes it clear that ECC-Net makes sense, also and certainly in times of crisis. ECC-Net is ready for the future that can and may be more digital and greener, also for us!”

The ECC-Net is committed to working closely with stakeholders and the business sector, as part of an integrated consumer protection team. It will continue to highlight the lived experiences and expressed needs of consumers in the context of policymaking, implementation and enforcement. The network will also work proactively on the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda by investing in awareness-raising campaigns.

About ECC-Net

Each EU country as well as Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom has a European Consumer Centre and together they form ECC-Net. ECC-Net informs consumers in Europe about their rights and provides free help with cross-border problems.

About ECC Belgium

The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Belgium offers free help and advice to consumers before and after they make a purchase in another EU member state. Together with colleagues across its European network, it aims to find an amicable solution for issues with a foreign trader, because consumer rights don’t stop at the border. The Belgian office, staffed by 8 people, is based in Brussels. The European network comprises 30 consumer centres: one in every EU member state, one in Norway and one in Iceland. This so-called ECC-Net was established in 2005 by the European Commission in conjunction with the EU member states in order to bolster consumer confidence in the internal market.

Read more about the ECC-Net.

Karen Ghysels: 02 894 20 70 – 0497 59 24 89 – [email protected]

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This press release was funded by the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020). This project is co-funded by OIPC, a non-profit organization from Test Achats, and the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy.

The content of this press release represents the views of the European Consumer Centre Belgium only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) 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.­­­­­­­

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