Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will today (5 December) take part in an online chat with European citizens to discuss product safety, with toys a particular concern for consumers ahead of the Christmas period.
The discussion seeks to engage stakeholders in the Commission’s attempt to “find the right balance” between maximising benefits for consumers in terms of price and choice, while minimising any safety risk they may face.
Inviting citizens to log on and participate in the chat, Kuneva said: “We need to draw consumers’ attention to what rights they enjoy and how to make sure that the products they buy are safe”.
Her initiative comes as increased stakeholder engagement in future policy debates is considered a vital aspect of the Commission’s plan to better communicate EU policies to citizens, launched by Vice President Margot Wallström earlier this year (EURACTIV 09/11/07).
Commissioner Wallström is also involved in an online project, following the recent launch of a website to provide a forum for debate between stakeholders and the general public on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change (EURACTIV 20/11/07).
Meanwhile, Kuneva hopes this evening’s discussion will help her ascertain whether current European safety laws are good enough and assess consumer confidence in online shopping.
Participants will be able to use English, French, German, Italian or Bulgarian during the debate, which also aims to find out whether EU citizens know where and how to complain about product safety issues, and whether they find returning products excessively difficult.
Concerns over toy safety had led the Commission to launch a review of its safety checks this autumn (EURACTIV 06/09/07) and Parliament recently gave its backing to the establishment of a single definition of the ‘CE’ mark to be used by European manufacturers in order to address consumers’ confusion over products which sometimes display national markings instead (EURACTIV 29/11/07).