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EU consumer policy strategy 2007-2013. Summary of the impact assessment. Commission staff working document accompanying the communication. SEC (2007) 322 final, 13 March 2007

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Microsoft Word - st07503-ad02.en07 EN EN COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES Brussels, 13.3.2007 SEC(2007) 322 COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Accompanying document to the COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE EU Consumer Policy strategy 2007-2013 Empowering consumers, enhancing their welfare, effectively protecting them Summary of the Impact Assessment {COM(2007) 99 final} {SEC(2007) 321} {SEC(2007) 323} EN 2 EN SUMMARY OF THE IMPACT ASSESSMENT For the 2007-2013 period, consumer policy faces two major challenges: – ensuring that consumers, as well as companies, better exploit the potential of the internal market; – helping consumers to make optimum use of the new developments with which they are confronted. Despite a substantial increase in the number of cross-border purchases between 2003 and 2006, European consumers continue to favour national products and making purchases on the national market. However, it is interesting to note that, at the same time, many consumers and many companies indicate that they are prepared to make cross-border transactions. The low current level of cross-border transactions has the effect of limiting consumer choice, reducing competitive pressure which could effectively fix prices in the consumers' interests, and limiting the benefits for companies, particularly for SMEs. There are many reasons for this low level of cross-border transactions: lack of consumer confidence, mainly due to the existence of different protection rules and a lack of effective mechanisms for settling disputes, insufficient consideration of consumers' interests in other Community policies, lack of information for consumers and companies on the potential of the internal market, lack of high-speed Internet access in some Member States, persistence of obstacles making

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