The European Commission Representation in Malta, in collaboration with the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA), recently organised a consumer dialogue event at Europa House in Valletta.
Last April the European Commission adopted a proposal entitled ‘New Deal for Consumers’ for a package of legislation to empower consumers, promote fairness and build trust across the single market. Throughout this year the Commission is organising a series of consumer dialogues in all EU Member States to explain to stakeholders and citizens what the EU is doing for them as consumers, and to listen to their views on how the EU can better tackle their concerns.
The new legislative proposals seek to modernise the EU consumer acquis to reflect modern technologies on the one hand, and strengthen the enforcement of consumer protection rights while providing redress mechanisms on the other.
The main aims of the legislative package proposed include (a) modernising consumer rules to respond to current challenges; (b) offering better redress opportunities for consumers; (c) supporting effective enforcement by public authorities; (d) spreading better knowledge on consumer rights, and (e) promoting equal treatment to consumers.
Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, delivered a keynote speech on what the European Commission is doing for consumers.
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said the Maltese government is currently discussing the Commission’s legislative proposals adding that they “take into account the need to strengthen consumer protection while aiming at striking a balance between consumers’ and traders’ interests”.
The event was also addressed by Elena Grech, head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, and Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection Deo Debattista. In his speech Dr Debattista noted that “today’s consumers are facing new types of products, and marketing tools are becoming more sophisticated. Hence, the importance of ensuring that our consumer protection tools are fit to deal with emerging challenges”.
He added said that “ongoing education and information awareness initiatives, combined with a strong legislative package that is effectively enforced, are the key to best safeguard European consumers”. Helga Pizzuto, chairperson of the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) praised the Commission’s initiative to organise national consumer dialogues in all EU Member States to discuss the proposed legislation.
A panel debate on the theme ‘New Deal for Consumers – expectations and main challenges from a Maltese perspective’ was also held. The panellists were Pauline Azzopardi from the Association for Consumer Rights, Phyllis Bezzina from the European Consumer Centre Malta, Pinuccia Contino from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers, Andre Fenech from the Malta Chamber of Commerce and Abigail Mamo from the GRTU – Malta Chamber of SMEs. The panel was moderated by Grace Stivala, director, Enforcement, MCCAA.
For details about the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ package visit the website below.
Odette Vella is director, Information Education and Research Directorate, Officer for Consumer Affairs, Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.
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