The Lisbon Treaty has been hailed as ‘consumer friendly’ this week by Ireland’s largest watchdog group for shoppers, the Consumers’ Association of Ireland.
CAI Chairman James Doorley pointed out several pro-consumer measures in the Treaty that would empower ordinary spenders against the might of multinationals.
“Lisbon gives legal weight to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which declares that EU policies will ‘ensure a high level of consumer protection,’” he said. “That’s more recognition than consumers get in the Irish constitution!”
Mr Doorley added that Lisbon gives MEPs greater powers to scrutinise and decide legislation, which is important given that the EU Consumer Rights Directive is currently being drafted in Brussels. “MEPs tend to stick up for consumers and not vested interests,”he said.
CAI Vice-Chairman Michael Kilcoyne said consumers increasingly need powerful trans national institutions like the EU to take on global cooperations. “Irish consumer law isn’t much good for people buying cross border goods or services like flights, computers or music downloads,” he said.
He referred to recent cases where the EU has taken on giants like Microsoft and tackled misleading practices by airlines. “Without EU intervention, lots of bloated monopolies would still be dominating markets in Ireland and across Europe. Backing Lisbon will give further protection to consumers who buy at home and across borders.”