The consumer conditions scoreboard. Consumers at home in the single market.
The Consumer Scoreboard is the Commission’s main tool to monitor the Single Mar-ket from a consumer perspective. Properly functioning consumer markets in Member States with favourable consumer conditions will help deliver the full potential of the single market, which is vital for growth and job creation. Given that consumer ex-penditure accounts for 56 % of the EU’s GDP, small improvements in consumer condi-tions in the single market can have a signifi cant impact on the allocative effi ciency of the economy and contribute to enhancing economic growth, in line with the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy. However, improved allocation can only be achieved if consumer conditions empower consumers to play their full part in the market and thereby stimulate competition and innovation. Consumers also need to be protected through eff ective enforcement of consumer rights and easy access to redress. The role of the demand side of the single market in stimulating Europe’s growth has been recognised by the Single Market Act1 and the 2012 Annual Growth Survey2, which launched the second European Semester of economic governance. The Annual Growth Survey indeed identifi es the 12 priority proposals of the Single Market Act – including Commission proposals on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)3 – among the growth enhancing measures which should be fast-tracked for adoption by the end of 2012. The progress report on the Europe 2020 Strategy4 accompanying the communication further emphasises that “[t]he im-plementation of the Single Market Act is of key importance to create a favourable environment for European businesses, in particular SMEs, and to restore and reinforce trust in consumers and workers so that they confi dently take up the opportunities the Single Market has on off er”. It also recognises the role of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard in identifying those sectors of the single market which do not function for consumers. Moreover, the Progress Report emphasises that “the growth potential of e-commerce is still largely untapped in the EU” and highlights the need to boost consumers’ and businesses’ confi dence in online transactions. The “importance of consumer empowerment, allowing consumers to make optimal consumption choices and thus maximise their welfare” is also acknowledged.
Number of pages128p.
SEC(2012) 165 final