Internal market & consumer protection

Internal market & consumer protection

The creation of an integrated single market of over 500 million consumers has been a huge success for Europe and brought choice, innovation and prosperity for Europeans, but it needs sensible, efficient regulation to ensure it works for citizens. New technological and economic developments must help tackle social inequalities and discrimination, create jobs, and promote openness, fairness, transparency, sustainability and accountability in our society.

The S&Ds have long been champions of stronger consumer protection, especially for vulnerable groups. We will keep fighting for better information and protection for consumers to make sure citizens can have confidence in the goods and services available in the EU.

The European Union is experiencing a digital revolution that impacts on our daily lives – politically, socially, economically and culturally. We believe that Europe needs a balanced digital policy to ensure that Europe keeps its core values. As technology changes and modernisation can be disruptive, new digital policies need to be shaped in order to achieve Europe's true potential and ensure that new digital opportunities are accessible to all and not just the powerful and wealthy.

The benefits of the digital economy must benefit all our communities – both in Europe and globally. We need to support disadvantaged and less digitally literate citizens and increase access to digital public services – even in remote locations – to ensure that citizens who cannot access the internet are not left behind.

To achieve these aims, we are calling for:

•    simple and effective cross-border contract rules for consumers and businesses in the digital environment
•    legislation to tackle unjustified ‘geoblocking’ (access restrictions for users from different places)
•    proper regulation for the ‘sharing economy’
•    assessment and measures on the role of online sharing platforms in the market
•    a review of the Misleading and Comparative Advertisement Directive
•    a review of the Regulation on Consumer Protection Co-operation
•    improved EU-wide standards on parcel deliveries
•    a plan for improved technical standards in the Digital Single Market
•    an action plan to promote e-government, providing better services for citizens and businesses
•    new working methods (protecting social and employment rules) and funding for (re)training to create jobs for all
•    EU digital law that is trusted, fair and responsible, by agreeing the Data Protection Regulation
•    protection for citizens online and secure electronic communications and networks, especially for small businesses
•    affordable and accessible connectivity for everyone in the EU
•    a co-ordinated, fair and sustainable taxation policy in the digital economy

We want to promote a new holistic vision for the single market. A green, knowledge-based social market economy that can improve the wellbeing of European citizens. Our vision includes practical measures to guarantee equal treatment and social inclusion, the creation of sustainable jobs and growth and a high level of consumer protection.

We support:

•    a new internal market strategy for goods and services
•    extending the EU’s ‘geographical indication’ protection to non-agricultural products
•    a new proposal for an International Procurement Instrument to ensure our trading partners respect clear and fair rules
•    improving the Remedies Directives to ensure bidders can get redress when contracts have been awarded unfairly
•    implementing the Services Directive, the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive and the Public Procurement package to strengthen the internal market
•    unblocking the Product Safety and Market Surveillance Directives.