Opening addresses from Commissioner Reynders, and CEO Ivo Mechels at the 2021 Euroconsumers International Forum
Euroconsumers’ 2021 International Forum brought together high-level policy makers, business leaders, academics, consumer organisations, and more, all to discuss the important consumer issues of today, and tomorrow. The opening speeches of Euroconsumers CEO Ivo Mechels and European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Didier Reynders captured the hard work consumer organisations such as Euroconsumers, and policy makers in the European Commission, do everyday to protect and forward consumer rights.
Euroconsumers CEO Ivo Mechels
Our CEO Ivo Mechels opened the ceremony by acknowledging the disappointment the Forum had to go virtual for a second year running.
“I have to admit, I really looked forward to welcoming you all again in person here in Brussels. But unfortunately covid decided otherwise. The deteriorating situation in Belgium forced us to go fully digital in Europe. And safety always comes first.”
And laid out the theme for the day.
“If I would need to capture this year’s Euroconsumers Forum in one single word, it would be DIALOGUE: A dialogue between digital and physical, leading up to this hybrid event. A dialogue between all kinds of stakeholders hosted here today. But above all we at Euroconsumers see dialogue as THE key ingredient to be able to rebuild a healthy post-covid market.
And laid down the challenge to the gathered stakeholders: to build a fairer and more resilient post-pandemic economy.
“Yes, this is an open invitation, both courageous and ambitious: “let’s work together”. Let’s not wait for the next pandemic to build a fairer and more resilient economy. Let’s push for responsible and sustainable innovation. Together.”
Commissioner Didier Reynders
Patron of our event, European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers Didier Reynders, also opened the Forum with an address, focusing on the work the Commission is undertaking to protect and forward consumer rights in the context of the green and digital transitions.
“Your core values match the ones that we strongly promote as the European Commission. I know you are equally committed to empowering consumers through the green and digital transitions.”
The Commissioner highlighted some legislation in the works.
“Over 70% of consumers we surveyed have had products that have failed with expectedly in the past three years. This is entirely counterproductive if we want consumers to consume more sustainably. The Commission will soon make a legal proposal to address these problems to ensure that consumers are given certain information about the durability and repairability of products before they buy, and to deal more effectively with unfair practices such as greenwashing and premature obsolescence.”
Through the power of dialogue, policy-makers can better understand the needs of the modern economy and society.
“I’m also interested in following your projects and dialogue with various tech companies. In principle this could help policymakers like me to understand where we need to do more to support consumers in the digital and green sphere. So I look forward to seeing the results of this project. Thank you once again to Euroconsumers for organizing another forum this year.”