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Have your say in EU public consultations – where to start?

You can start by the European Commission website here by putting key words in the search engine. Some consultations are open to individuals while others maybe be more targeted at organisations. In any case, it is important to register first before submitting your feedback. Some consultations include short questionnaires while others have long and technical ones. Some are geared to reviewing existing legislation and policies, while others are to develop new legislation and policies to meet new needs. You can contribute anonymously or your feedback can also be made public. Each consultation webpage refers to the type of action the European Commission wishes to undertake (communication, directive, regulation, recommendation). These public consultations cover a huge number of fields which impact families, and here are a few on our radar in 2020 which COFACE and its members has recently contributed to or intends to contribute to:

Consumer credit agreements
Consumer credit agreements (where credit is granted to an individual) include unsecured loans, credit cards and hire purchase. The EU rules on consumer credit strengthen consumers’ rights and help them make informed decisions. This initiative reviews those rules, with a focus on issues such as scope, information given to consumers and creditworthiness assessment. It will also examine the impact of COVID-19 on the credit market and consumers, including vulnerable ones. You can see the COFACE response here. Deadline: 1st September 2020

Digital Services Act
The Commission recently announced a Digital Services Act package. Through this consultation, it is trying to identify issues that may require intervention through the Digital Services Act, as well as additional topics related to the environment of digital services and online platforms, which will be further analysed in view of possible upcoming initiatives, should the issues identified require a regulatory intervention. This includes questions on how to keep users safer online, the role of digital platforms, online advertising, the liability regimes of digital services. See COFACE response here. Deadline: 8th September 2020

EU New Consumer Agenda
The EU is preparing to table its new consumer strategy later in the year. The strategy will aim to update EU consumer policy to tackle the new challenges brought by digitalisation and the rising importance of environmental issues; and to protect vulnerable consumers in the new economic realities caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative will include changes to legislation in areas such as consumer information about goods and services, consumer credit, product safety. You can see the COFACE response here. Deadline 6th October 2020

European Child guarantee
The Child Guarantee is meant to ensure that all children in Europe who are at risk of poverty, social exclusion, or are otherwise disadvantaged, have access to essential services of good quality. It will recommend that EU countries invest in and develop strategies and action plans to ensure that children in need have access to free or affordable services such as 1. education, including early childhood education & care 2. healthcare, nutrition & housing 3. culture & leisure activities. Our seminar on 29th September will be used to collect input for the COFACE contribution. Deadline: 7th October 2020

Reinforcing social Europe
The European Pillar of Social Rights is Europe’s social strategy to make sure that the transitions of climate-neutrality, digitalisation and demographic change, as well as the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, are socially fair and just. It builds upon 20 key principles. For the EU to get out of the current crisis, it needs to generate recovery, build resilience and guide economies along the path of just, green and digital transitions. This should not happen at the cost of the poorest people, regions or countries. The recovery will have to be inclusive and fair. The European Pillar of Social Rights provides a compass to tackle the social and economic challenges of our time. To support the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and prepare the ground for the Pillar’s Action Plan (to be presented in early 2021), the Commission launched a broad discussion with all EU countries and regions and with its partners. Deadline 30th November 2020.

EU Child Rights Strategy
The EU strategy on children’s rights will provide the framework for EU action to better promote and protect children’s rights. It will contain a set of measures for the EU to implement, addressing among others: the rights of the most vulnerable children, children’s rights in the digital age, the prevention of and fight against violence, the promotion of child-friendly justice. It will also include recommendations for action by other EU institutions, EU countries and stakeholders. Deadline: 8th December 2020

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