Europe Day 2024: ECC-Net’s Recommendations for the 2024 – 2029 European Parliament

Europe Day, which is celebrated every year on 9 May, commemorates the Schuman Declaration. The statement is considered the first step taken towards the creation of the European Community (EC) and latterly the European Union (EU).

EU consumer laws provide important protections to consumers in Ireland, who buy goods and services from a business in the EU. ECC Ireland is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) which helps consumers avail of their consumer rights, if they have an issue with a business located in another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway. Together, in 2023 ECC-Net handled more than 124,000 consumer requests and recovered nearly €9 million for consumers involved in a cross-border complaint. More details about ECC-Net’s activities in 2023 can be found in this fact sheet.

Consumer Empowerment: ECC-Net’s Recommendations for the 2024 – 2029 European Parliament

Since the last European elections, the European Union has established numerous rights that protect consumers. However, the evolution of consumption habits, particularly in the digital world, requires that the EU define forward-thinking legislation for the years to come. For a genuine Single Digital Market and increased protection of European consumers, ECC-Net proposes that the consumer agenda for the upcoming term of the European Parliament should focus on:

Shopping Online with Confidence

  • Holding marketplaces accountable. Marketplaces facilitate connections between buyers and sellers, who are not always easily identifiable. They should be accountable when they allow products from third country sellers that do not adhere to European safety standards to be imported into the EU.
  • Securing online payment solutions. Payment service providers should be required to improve fraud detection and improve how consumers can report fraud.
  • Establishing clear regulations to define influencer marketing, ensure transparency and hold influencers accountable. A European Commission investigation recently revealed that only 20% of influencers clearly label their commercial posts as advertisements. The remaining 80% should be reported by authorities for non-compliance with European rules. Currently, France is the only country in Europe with specific legislation regulating commercial influencers.

Protecting Consumers against Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is increasingly prevalent in our consumption habits. It is being harnessed more and more by e-commerce sites, digital platforms and social networks. Their algorithms leverage personal data to determine which products consumers are most likely to purchase. The EU recently passed a law on AI, providing an initial legal framework for Europe. In addition, ECC-Net suggests that consumers should be systematically informed when an algorithm uses their personal information (related to their purchasing behaviour, health, or finances) to sell them goods and services. Additionally, when a business delegates its customer service to an AI-powered chatbot, consumers should always have the option to contact a human being instead. Lastly, given the rapid technological advancement of AI, legislative measures in Europe should be frequently adjusted and reworked to suit current needs.

Improving Travellers’ Rights

Adapting regulations on transportation and travel ranks high among the upcoming legislative priorities for the EU. More specifically, consumers need better protection when airline insolvencies occur. Complaints handled by the ECC-Net reveal that European passengers lose an average of €431 in the event of bankruptcy. This shows that a guarantee system should be set up to protect consumers against airline insolvency.

The European regulation that has defined air passenger rights since 2004 also needs to be revised. This should involve clarifying what constitutes an “extraordinary circumstance” and listing specific events that could justify an airline not having to provide compensation. ECC-Net supports establishing standard weight and size limits for airplane luggage, which would make it easier to compare prices at the time of booking.

ECC-Net also advocates holding intermediaries accountable. Many online booking platforms and fare comparison websites display highly opaque prices and fail to assist consumers or refund cancelled tickets in a timely manner.

To view all of the ECC-Net’s recommendations, please refer to ‘Consumer Empowerment: ECC-Net’s Recommendations Post-European Elections 2024/2029.’

Right to Repair Position Paper published

The European Commission has put forward a new proposal aimed at making it easier for consumers to have broken products repaired rather than replaced. This position paper lists ECC-Net’s recommendations on what should be included in the future Directive. The paper also identifies actions already taken across the EU to encourage the repair of consumer goods


Read the Position Paper



World Tourism Day: EU flight cases 2023

In 2023, there have already been more flight disruptions, delays and cancellations than in 2022; mainly caused by understaffing, strikes and technical issues. This article explains how the ECC Network keeps consumers informed about your rights when travelling by plane and helps you to resolve disputes relating to air travel within the EU.

Read about the flight issues in 2023