“European Consumer Union”: New EU consumer organization officially presented at the EU Parliament
Bruxelles, 15 March 2019
“European Consumer Union”, the new EU umbrella consumer association, was officially presented in Brussels to the EU Institutions (EU Commission, members of the European parliament and of the European Economic Social Committee) and other relevant stakeholders.
The launch event took place last 5th of March at the EU Parliament in the conference entitled “Towards EU election: Strengthening the European Union for a more effective consumer protection,” hosted by Italian MEP Viotti, S&D.
The promoters of the new-born association “European Consumer Union” (ECU) are the Italian associations Federconsumatori and Cittadinanzattiva. ECU is composed of 22 Consumer Associations coming from 16 EU Member States plus 1 extra EU Member, as ratified during the ECU’s General Assembly last October 2018 in Paris, in which the European Commission-DG Consumers took part.
The Croatian member is represented by Razvojna Organizacija Zastite Potrosaca (ROZP).
The “European Consumer Union” is the result of a growing civic awareness that, on the consumers’ side, has not yet found suitable representation at the European level: a civic awareness that, in the context of the New Deal for Consumers, aims to strengthen the protection of vulnerable people, to avoid the divide between first-class and second-class citizens having access to goods and public services, and to reduce those extremely marked inequalities that still exist not only among consumers of different EU member states but also within each single country.
An awareness that finds in a more cohesive and united Europe a suitable context to cooperate so that, in the policy-making process, greater emphasis will be placed on citizens’ perspectives, demonstrating that the Union and its institutions actually care for the protection of citizens’ general interests.
“The protest for a more careful Europe which takes into consideration the daily demands and the concrete needs of the people has been rising across the continent, where people are asking for a less financial economy and a more ‘real’ economy. In the context of consumers’ policies, which are now almost completely in the hands of the EU, this legitimate request is supported and promoted by the “European Consumer Union”, which is committed to represent the needs and demands of European citizens in a constructive manner to public and private stakeholders,” appointed ECU President Sergio Veroli.
The European Consumers Union (ECU) is a European consumer organisation which complies with all of the conditions established by the EU Institutions. ECU is a non-governmental and nonprofit organisation which is independent from industrial, commercial and business activities or other conflicting interests. Its primary objective is the promotion and protection of the health, safety, economic and legal interests of European consumers. ECU is mandated to represent consumers’ interests at the Union level by organisations in at least half of the Member States and it is active at the regional and national level. Member organisations consist of consumers’ representatives, in accordance with their national rules or practice.
As EU umbrella consumer association, ECU acts in accordance with all European principles and it pursues social solidarity and the protection of users and consumers’ rights at the national and European level in all areas of their interest.
- President: Sergio Veroli, Federconsumatori, Italy.
- Vice-Presidents: Bozena Stasenkova, Association of Consumer Organizations in Slovakia; Guy Beaune, Indecosa-CGT, France.
- Secretary General: Mariano Votta, Cittadinanzattiva Onlus – Active Citizenship Network, Italy.
- Ethic Committee Coordinator: Alvita Armanaviciene, Lithuanian National Consumer Federation.
- Croatia: RAZVOJNA ORGANIZACIJA ZASTITE POTROSACA – ROZP
- Cyprus: CYPRUS CONSUMERS UNION & QUALITY OF LIFE
- Czech Republic: CONSUMER DEFENCE ASSOCIATION OF MORAVIA AND SILESIA
- Estonia: NGO HOUSE OF CONSUMERS COOPERATION
- France: INDECOSA CGT
- Greece EEKE – UNION OF WORKING CONSUMERS OF GREECE
- Hungary: FEBESZ – NATIONAL FEDERATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS’ AND PATIENTS’ RIGHTS
- Italy: CITTADINANZATTIVA ONLUS
- Italy: FEDERCONSUMATORI & FEDERCONSUMATORI PIEMONTE
- Italy: MOVIMENTO CONSUMATORI
- Latvia: IMPACT 2040
- Lithuania: CONSUMER RIGHTS PROTECTION CENTER NGO “SAUGOK SAVE”
- Lithuania: LITHUANIAN NATIONAL CONSUMER FEDERATION
- Lithuania: LITHUANIAN CONSUMER ASSOCIATION
- Malta: ASSOCIATION FOR CONSUMER RIGHTS -ACR
- Poland: FUNDACJA KUPUJ ODPOWIEDZIALNIE
- Romania: FEDERATION OF CONSUMER ASSOCIATIONS
- Serbia: CONSUMERS CENTER OF SERBIA – CEPS
- Slovakia: ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS IN SLOVAKIA
- Slovakia: SLOVAK CONSUMERS PROTECTION
- Spain: ADICAE – CONSUMIDORES CRITICOS, RESPONSABLES Y SOLIDARIOS
- Sweden: KONSUMENT FORUM
Giuseppe Perretti, Liaison Officer with EU institutions at European Consumers Union (ECU)
Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile: +32 497 28 60 79
The European Consumers Union (ECU) presented the event “Towards EU election: Strengthening the European Union for a more effective consumer protection”.
The event has been chaired by Grace Attard (Delegate of the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change at the EESC and General Secretary of the Association for Consumer Rights Malta) and it took place at the European Parliament on 5 March 2019, from 10:30 to 12:30.
Welcome address and keynote presentation
MEP Daniele Viotti, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (Videomessage)
Sergio Veroli, ECU President and Vice President of Federconsumatori
EU commitment on consumer protection: which perspective from the New Deal?
Carina Törnblom, European Commission – Directorate General for Justice & Consumers.
Priorities for the new EU Consumer Agenda: European and National stakeholder perspective
Andrew Ebrill, Secretary General of the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER)
Paolo Falcioni, Director-General of APPLiA – Home Appliance Europe
François Bilem, Formateur at INDECOSA CGT
Anastasia Chatzipavlou, Director of the Union of Working Consumers of Greece
Mariano Votta, ECU Secretary General and EU Affairs Responsible at Cittadinanzattiva Onlus
To download ECU PRESENTATION click here
To download panellist biography click here
To download ECU manifesto click here
As time goes by, ECU gets bigger.
Today the association has 15 countries from the European Community. We are very happy with the results obtained and we hope to be able to achieve all the goals we have set for the year to come.
2018 is on its doorstep and there are many projects to be implemented, as are many European calls
to which we will participate.
– The activation of our Departments, the one on Food, the Juridical one and others;
– The General Assembly, scheduled for autumn, probably in Paris;
– A European research on an important issue of consumerism;
– The activation of the High Legal Training Course, who knows … maybe not just more in the Italian version;
– The translation of the site into the languages of the members of the association. We are 15, it will not be a easy thing to do, but the idea of having a site translated into many languages will make us overcome every difficulty.
How about? There is a lot of work to do in fact.
As the ECU becomes bigger, even the activities and the desire to realize our dreams increase.
The ECU associations are very active, all present on their territories with assistance desks and
orientation for consumers.
Do you want the list? There it is:
-Union of Insured Person in Bulgaria
-Association of Croatian Consumers
-Cyprus Consumers Union & Quality of life
-SOS Association for Consumer Protection in Moravia and Silesia
-House of Consumers Cooperation (Estonia)
-Indecosa CGT (France)
-Enosi Ergazomenon Katanaloton Elladas (Greece)
-Cittadinanzattiva, Federconsumatori, Federconsumatori Piemonte, Consumers Movement (Italy)
-Consumer Rights Protection Center, NGO Saugok save (Lithuania)
-Association for Consumer rights (Malta)
-InfoCons Association (Romania)
-Association of Consumer Organizations in Slovakia
-Konsument Forum (Sweden)
We hope to be able to make ourselves known not only by other associations but also directly by consumers who often are not even aware of the great work that is done to obtain the respect of rights and laws and to publish laws and regulations that really travel the way of consumer rights.
Our directive committee is an european one, such as all the staff is.
The 21st June 2017, Active Citizenship Network (ACN) invited the European Consumer Union (ECU) to participate in the European Sustainable Energy Week 2017.
This conference was selected by the European Commission among the most interesting proposals of the annual edition of the European Sustainable Energy Week.
To know more about the conference, the speakers and to download the presentations, click here.
The event aimed at gathering from a wide range of experts (citizen and consumer organizations, industry, environmental NGOs and institutions) useful feedback on the development of the intelligent energy system for the benefit of active consumers.
During the event were exposed the results of several “on-the-ground” projects and intelligent technologies, in which an active role of citizens is increasingly required.
The event also allowed the discussion on how the new Clean Energy for All Europeans Package could contribute to further stimulating the smart energy system for consumers as well as encouraging the same consumers to participate in an intelligent energy system. To see the event pictures, click here.
ECU Representative was the Vice-President Bozena Stasenkova, who commented on the Clean Energy Package from a consumerist perspective.
She offers singular insights on how to educate consumers on the use of Smart Energy Systems starting from schools.
In this regard, she also showed several examples of good practices such as the “Energy and the Environment” project (carried out by the students of Artashat, Armenia and Mira, Italy), or the project “Efficiency in Croatia and Lithuania” (Developed by students from Raseiniai, Lithuania and Vukovar, Croatia).
To know more about the international competition for young consumers “Consumption for Life” click here.
To see the pictures of the event click here.
The Governing Council is a key element for the good performance of the activity and for associative life. For this reason, after many years since its inception, ECU has accomplished a great job of updating and renewing and has elected the new Steering Committee.
Last May, many of the ECU member organizations met in Brussels for the General Assembly to make some changes to make the association more and more active and up to date. Among these could not fail to update the Steering Committee!
ECU saw: a move to the Presidency, a confirmation of the Treasury, the establishment of the figure of the Secretary General, the enlargement of the Vice Presidencies and the establishment of the Presidency Staff. Among the news a very importan one is the election of the Honorary President.
The Governing Council is composed by:
President: Sergio Veroli, current Vice President – Organizing and Secretary of the Transport and Health Department of the association Federconsumatori at national level
Bozena Stasenkova, Past President of Ecu, President of Association of Consumer Organizations in Slovakia, full member of ECCG (European Consumer Consultative Group)
Guy Beauné, past Vice President of Ecu, President of the association Indecosa, France
Igor Vujovic, President of Association Croatian Consumer, Full Member of ECCG (European Consumer Consultative Group)
Secretary General: Mariano Votta, Head of European Citizenship Policy, full member of ECCG (European Consumer Consultative Group)
Treasurer: Giovanni Dei Giudici, formerly Treasurer of ECU, President of association Federconsumatori of Piedmont
Honorary President: Ugo Mattei, Professor of International Law Compared to Hastings College of Law at the University of California at San Francisco, where he holds the chair of Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International and Comparative Law. He is a professor of civil law at the University of Turin. He is academic coordinator at the International University College of Turin. Ugo Mattei’s scientific activity specializes in the study and definition of “common goods”.
In the world, unfortunately, a lot of food is thrown away, despite the economic crisis, and although there are still many people who suffer from hunger. The food, the production of which cost money, labor, water, energy, should be used to feed humans, animals, land and only in the end, be composted into the ground or end up in landfill.
What can we do in our homes, to curb this aberrant phenomenon, this colossal food waste?
- buy high quality food, locally sourced, without a lot of packaging
- buy the amount of food we need and not much more
- if you want to buy more, to go at all times, carry shopping list and plan the menus of meals
- avoid offers 3 for 2
- buy simple food to cook at the moment
- reuse leftovers in our traditional dishes (pasta timbales, croquettes, omelets, cakes, fruit salads …)
- collect the wet aside for compostarli in our garden, if we have it
These small steps, these small changes in our habits, may have the power to reduce food waste in the world.
An ant, it’s just an ant, but many ants can make a difference …
It ‘s important to educate children at the disposal of food waste so that they do not become, like most adults, unwary of the importance of food.
Today, food is considered to be a product, a commodity among many. Instead, the food is more than a product, it is, first of all, what allows us to live and embodies the culture, history, labor, ecology, balance of the world.
The image is from Internet Archive Book Images via Flickr
- Food is more than a commodity: it is life, communication, relationship, ties, culture, tradition. Its value is greater than that of any other goods
- Prefer quality to quantity: we eat a lot more than we need, and this causes problems to overfeed. It’s better to prefer quality to quantity
- Sometimes what is natural is not good looking: we seek perfection, but perfection is in the nature of diversity. In this age of the image, we associate the criterion of beauty to goodness
- Choose seasonal produce: every fruit has its season, if we learn this, we’ll eat better and healthier
- Choose local products: greater distance, greater waste
- Learn to read labels: on the labels, expiration dates, are often indicative and refer to the qualitative aspects. Only in some cases the expiration dates are set rigidly. It ‘s important to know the difference (in Italia, for example, the words “to use preferibly within ….” it does not indicate that the food at that date is no longer edible)
- Get used to use the freezer: most of the food can be frozen. Use your freezer at home is a great way to reduce waste
- Use leftovers with imagination: from meatballs to soups, you can use the leftovers to create new and tasty dishes
Image from Library Company of Philadelphia via Flickr
The associations Federconsumatori Piemonte and Tessile & Salute have created a small survey to find out the awareness of consumers about buying products made from fabrics and leathers. The main goal was to understand if, for consumers, there may be a relationship between textiles and leathers and health.
The questionnaire was divided into 4 sections.
Through the survey on the perception of quality we wanted to understand if, for our sample, the origin of a product is important and if they consider that the controls on the quality of the fabrics are sufficient, if they have the habit of reading label, and if they know the different codes used for both tissue composition and for the washing instructions.
The results show that 63% of the sample checks the provenance (often or always), the remaining 37% doesn’t.
With the same diversity of point of view of those who see the glass half empty or half full, we can be satisfied with the result, or to consider that almost 40% have no sensitivity with respect to the origin of the product.
Very similar result concerns the labeling, which appears to be an important indicator for the 76% of the sample compared with 24% claiming to read it rarely (sometimes or never).
The marks indicate that the fibers that make up a tissue are known by 41% of the sample, it knows only some 34%, and 25% say they do not know them. It goes a bit better for the abbreviations used in the markings on the correct wash, but 31.5% say they do not know them all. Finally only 23% of our sample said there are sufficient control on quality.
With the investigation of the composition of the tissues we want to know if the consumer distinguishes a leather from one made of synthetic and natural fibers and if he considers that there are differences between the two types. About 90% of those surveyed were aware of these differences, but when it comes to recognizing this difference to the touch, percentages decrease: about 60% acknowledge the natural fabrics from synthetic ones, and only 53% say they recognize the difference to the touch.
70% of respondents also say they know the materials most commonly used for the production of clothing.
The area devoted to patterns and buying criteria was aimed to investigate aspects of the decision-making process such as the consideration of the quality / price ratio. In addition, it also wanted to understand the behavior of the consumers compared to the price: if they were interested in the research “opportunity” during the sales or purchasing in the outlets, and their willingness to spend more to get more information on the traceability of the product. Finally, we wanted to know if fashion influenced the purchase.
For 70% of respondents the price is always / often a determining factor in the choice, many (80%) consider the criteria for purchasing the duration of the leaders and more than 55% buy on sale or at outlets. Over 90% of the sample is still available states to spend more money in exchange for greater product traceability.
Compared to an interest in fashion, the surveyed population is a rather less divided: about 41% say they follow always / often the fashion, over 42% say they follow the dictates sometimes, the rest claims to never do it.
The last area of inquiry concerned the relationship between fabrics / leathers and health, relationship known by almost all (97%) of our respondents as well as almost all (95%) considered it possible that the tissues may generate an allergic reaction, while it is lower the awareness with respect to the possible reaction with the leather (87%).
In addition, 44% of respondents has suffered from skin irritation due to a tissue.
In recent years, we have seen an increased attention to alimentation and we believe that this is right, but there are also other phenomena that need to be the center of attention of consumers. There are sectors which are often underestimated, as is the case for textiles, leather, tricks and so on. All the sector intended to clothing, accessories, as well as the neighboring sector for the destination of use of the cosmetic, is greatly underestimated from the point of view of safety, both by consumers and by the legislature