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EU Competitiveness Council President, Slovenian Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak, speaks in Brussels on the importance of efficient legal redress for consumers

“Existing judicial and administrative protection of consumers is inadequate; alternative ways to settle consumer disputes need to be established,” declared the Slovenian Minister of the Economy, Andrej Vizjak, at the European Consumer Day conference in Brussels. At the invitation of the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Minister Vizjak attended the conference on the legal protection of consumers as a keynote speaker in his capacity as current President of the EU Competitiveness Council.

In his address, Andrej Vizjak stressed the great importance of effective legal redress for consumers. “Ensuring access to effective redress is a basic principle of the Community acquis and is also enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”

The President of the Competitiveness Council placed the main emphasis on the importance of mechanisms for the out-of-court settlement of disputes as an alternative to formal proceedings, particularly court proceedings. The value of consumer disputes is often too low and waiting periods too long for consumers to take cases to court. Mr Vizjak highlighted the option of out-of-court settlement of consumer cases and the issue of collective solutions to consumer disputes at EU level. “The Slovenian Presidency considers that collective consumer action would help improve the functioning of the internal market,” reported the Minister, “Consumers’ confidence in cross-border shopping would be increased if efficient means to settle disputes associated with their purchases were available.”


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Date: 14.03.2008