Europe From A to Z Guide to European integration by EUROPE

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Thus the Single Act enshrined the concrete legal basis for consumer protection in Europe. In the Union Treaty this provision is supplemented by ‘specific action’ to protect the health, safety and economic interests of consumers and to provide adequate information to consumers. Implementation of consumer protection Like the growth of the internal market, implementation of consumer protection is a gradual process. By harmonizing standards the ® European Commission sought to secure a standard level of protection at Community level while simultaneously removing barriers to trade.

Consumer representation at Community and national level. Further consumer policy programmes were adopted for 1981-86, 1990-93 and 1993-95. Basically, they followed up the criteria and objectives of the first action plan. But despite continuous adaptation, consumer protection in Europe was initially slow to get off the ground. All too often the ambitious plans clashed with powerful economic interests. Consumer protection got a new impetus with the adoption of the Single European Act in 1987: the new Article 100a (3) of the EC Treaty stipulated that in developing the single market in the domains of health, safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, a ‘high level of protection’ had to be taken as a base.

Executive powers were also predominantly held by the Council. Although there has been no fundamental change to the position of the Council within the institutional system, it has in the meantime been required to delegate its executive powers to the Commission and to share its decision-making powers with the European Parliament in connection with the ® budget and association policies, and also in the matter of accession treaties. The introduction by the SEA of the ‘cooperation procedure’ (Article 189c) by the Single European Act, and of the ‘codecision procedure’ (Article 189 b) by the Treaty on European Union, has involved a gradual and significant increase in the influence exerted by the European The continued dominant position of the Council within the institutional system is limited in particular by the fact that, with some minor exceptions, it can act in fields of common EU policy only on the basis of a proposal submitted by the Commission.

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