The European Consumers Union (ECU) is a European consumer organisation which complies with all of the condition established by EU Institutions. ECU is a non-governmental and non-for-profit organisation which is independent of industry, commercial and business 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 Union level by organisations in at least half of the Member States and it is active at regional and national level. Member organisations are consumers’ representative, in accordance with their national rules or practice.
As EU umbrella Consumer Association, ECU acts in accordance with European principles and pursues social solidarity and the protection of the rights of consumers and users at national and European level in all areas of their interest, as declared in the Statute of the Association.
ECU was Founded in 2009, with the main objective of uniting European consumer organizations in order to collaborate on all matters related to consumerism and to support the causes of the pan-European citizens. Today, ECU is composed by 23 National Consumer Associations coming from 16 EU Member States plus 1 extra Member EU as ratified in the Paris ECU General Assembly 2018.
Since 2017, year of its restoration and membership enlargement, ECU was involved in several initiatives and projects:
• On 1 February 2017 ECU was included in the panel of the Citizenergy Project event at the EU Parliament on citizen engagement in sustainable energy.
• On 21st June 2017, the organisation Active Citizenship Network (ACN) together with CECED, SEDC and the ECOS, invited the European Consumer Union (ECU) to participate in a session of the European Sustainable Energy Week 2017 entitled “A smart energy system for consumers, consumers for a smart energy system”.
• On 26 Spetember 2017, ECU was involved in the expert roundtable of Digi Label, a H2020 Project which produces a digital tool that gives personalized information on the energy consumption of household appliances.
• In 2018 ECU entered in the consortium of Seafood Tomorrow, a €7m European Union Horizon 2020-funded project that aims to develop innovative sustainable solutions for improving the safety and dietary properties of seafood in Europe.
• On 5 March 2019, ECU organised its launch event, hosted by the former MEP Daniele Viotti at the European Parliament, entitled “Towards EU election: Strengthening the European Union for a more effective consumer protection”.
• On 3 October 2019 the President of European Consumer Union, Sergio Veroli, has been invited to present European consumers’ perspective in the event “Climate Change and Consumption: What are the links?” organised in Paris by its French member INDECOSA CGT.
• In 2020, five ECU members (Federconsumatori Piemonte in Italy, Consumer Defence Association of Moravia and Silesia, Union of Working Consumers of Greece, Lithuanian National Consumer Federation and Association of Consumer Organizations in Slovakia) accepted the European Commission’s call for Erasmus + (no. 2018-1-SK01-KA204-046393) in the field of Strategic Partnerships. The organisations started to implement common project to promote innovation, exchange of experience and know-how between different types of European organizations.
• In March 2020, ECU become official stakeholder of the BIOnTOP project, thanks to its Italian member Movimento Consumatori.
• In 2020, together with Active Citizenship Network and ASviS, ECU is promoting a political initiative that aims to create the informal Inter-institutional Group “SDGs for well-being and consumers’ protection”. As described in its Manifesto “PROMOTING SDGs an EU PRIORITY”, the Inter-Institutional Group is opened to members of the EU Institutions that have accepted to work together with the civic society to ensure Europe is a global leader in the dissamination, development and implementation of the SDGs.
1. Croatia: RAZVOJNA ORGANIZACIJA ZASTITE POTROSACA – ROZP
2. Cyprus: CYPRUS CONSUMERS UNION & QUALITY OF LIFE
3. Czech Republic: CONSUMER DEFENCE ASSOCIATION OF MORAVIA AND SILESIA
4. Estonia: NGO HOUSE OF CONSUMERS COOPERATION
5. France: INDECOSA CGT
6. Greece EEKE – UNION OF WORKING CONSUMERS OF GREECE
7. Hungary: FEBESZ – NATIONAL FEDERATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS’ AND PATIENTS’ RIGHTS
8. Italy: CITTADINANZATTIVA ONLUS
9. Italy: FEDERCONSUMATORI & FEDERCONSUMATORI PIEMONTE
10. Italy: MOVIMENTO CONSUMATORI
11. Latvia: IMPACT 2040
12. Lithuania: CONSUMER RIGHTS PROTECTION CENTER NGO “SAUGOK SAVE”
13. Lithuania: LITHUANIAN NATIONAL CONSUMER FEDERATION
14. Lithuania: LITHUANIAN CONSUMER ASSOCIATION
15. Malta: ASSOCIATION FOR CONSUMER RIGHTS -ACR
16. Poland: FUNDACJA KUPUJ ODPOWIEDZIALNIE
17. Romania: FEDERATION OF CONSUMER ASSOCIATIONS
18. Serbia: CONSUMERS CENTER OF SERBIA – CEPS
19. Slovakia: ASSOCIATION OF CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS IN SLOVAKIA
20. Slovakia: SLOVAK CONSUMERS PROTECTION
21. Spain: ADICAE – CONSUMIDORES CRITICOS, RESPONSABLES Y SOLIDARIOS
22. Spain: ASOCIACION MURCIANA DE CONSUMIDORES Y USURAIOS, CONSUMUR
23. Sweden: KONSUMENT FORUM
DEFENCE OF RIGHTS
ECU is inspired by Article 2 of the Consumer Code
1. They are recognized and guaranteed the rights and individual and collective interests of consumers and users, the protection at the national and local level are promoted, , are favored initiatives designed to pursue these objectives, including through the regulation of relations between the associations of consumers and users and public administrations.
2. To Consumers and users are recognized as fundamental rights:
a) the protection of health;
b) the safety and quality of products and services;
c) adequate information and correct advertising;
d) consumer education;
e) the fairness, transparency and equity in contractual relations;
f) the promotion and development of free, voluntary and democratic among consumers and users;
g) the provision of public services according to standards of quality and efficiency.
For ECU “responsibility” means to increase and improve the support of European consumer organizations to consumers, in order to increase their confidence in the European internal market, product safety and for a loyal relationship with the companies of the countries national, European and third. “Responsibility” also means sharing of best practices and methodologies, data exchange in the field of dispute resolution, improve the activities of consumer education, particularly in schools and for vulnerable people.
Our world is in a total transformation and often we don’t consider that the elements of nature are not infinite. ecu believes that it is essential to respect the use of resources and natural materials to ensure both current generations and future generations.
The correctness of relationships between members, to the institutions and to the Consumer is, to ECU, an unavoidable condition