17:14 - ECONOMY: EU SINGLE MARKET, BEST CONSUMER CONDITIONS IN NORTHERN EUROPE
(Sir Europe - Brussels) - Illegal business practices persist (deceptive advertising, misleading or fraudulent offers), online shopping increases but remains essentially linked to domestic markets, and only a few citizens are actually aware of their rights and of the legal protection they enjoy as consumers. These are some of the outcomes of the Spring Consumer Markets Scoreboard, published today by the European Commission, which reveals improvements in several Member States. The report shows that the countries with the best conditions for consumers are Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Sweden, all of which are above the EU average. The report takes into account different factors for assessing the situation, such as the quality of regulation protecting consumers and businesses, the effectiveness of resolving disputes and handling complaints, and consumer trust in authorities, retailers, advertisers and consumer organisations. The safety of products on the market is also taken into account. EU Commissioner John Dalli remarked: Only consumers who are aware of their rights and know how to use them can fully exploit the potential of the Single Market to enhance innovation and growth.