Table of Contents

    Consumer rights during the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 

    Strengthening consumer protection will be a key objective of the Belgian Presidency. In consultation with Belgium's Permanent Representation to the European Union and the secretariats of the European institutions, the FPS Economy will be a driving force in organising events and discussions around this theme. The Directorate-General for Economic Regulation, represented by the FPS Economy's “Consumers and Businesses” department, will be particularly involved in the various projects affecting European consumer protection.  

    Within the scope of its competences, the FPS Economy will endeavour to provide the best possible support for the negotiations at the level of the European institutions (Council, Commission and Parliament) so that the discussions run smoothly, and progress can be made in this area. To achieve that, it will be essential to take into account the positions of all the players involved in order to propose solutions.

    The FPS Economy's mission is to create the conditions for a sustainable and balanced functioning of the goods and services market in Belgium and is responsible for consumer policy.  

    The task of the Directorate-General for Economic Regulation is to create and maintain a legal and regulatory framework that promotes the smooth operation of the goods and services market. 

    The Consumer and Business Division deals with legislation containing consumer protection provisions at both national and European level. As part of the Belgian Presidency, the Division will be in charge of European negotiations with the aim of finding provisions that protect all European consumers, and that are balanced while not putting businesses that have to comply with them in difficulty. 

    Objectives of the Belgian Presidency with regard to consumer protection 

    The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will focus on the organisation of two major events and the progress of three directives.  


    The events will be held on 18 and 19 April 2024 in Brussels: 

    • The Consumer Summit will bring together the various stakeholders (organisations representing consumers and industry, decision-makers, academics, etc.) who will exchange views during workshops on different themes. 

    • The Informal Council of Consumer Protection Ministers will involve ministers from all European countries. They will have the opportunity to express their points of view  to identify future challenges in consumer protection. 

    A number of topical issues will be addressed at those two events, 

    Proposals for legislative changes 

    With regard to the negotiations underway at European level, the Belgian Presidency hopes to make progress on three proposed directives and will discuss the repeal of the ODR regulation: 

    • The “Right to Repair” directive, which aims to make it easier and cheaper for consumers to repair faulty products, and which would also reduce waste and boost the repair sector. The current proposal includes new elements, such as more systematic recourse to repair during the legal guarantee period, a European platform for putting repairers in contact with each other, and the provision of information on repair possibilities. This initiative complements other instruments that pursue the sustainable consumption objective of the Green Pact for Europe, such as the proposed Ecodesign Regulation. 

    • A revision of the Package Travel Directive has also been submitted to the European legislative bodies. That directive offers broad protection to travellers in the context of pre-arranged and tailor-made package travel. The tour operator is responsible for the proper execution of all travel services and is required to obtain insolvency protection to guarantee travellers' payments and repatriation. The aim of revising the Package Travel Directive is to further improve the level of consumer protection, particularly in the event of a crisis in the travel sector. At the same time, the revision aims to improve the functioning of the internal market in the package travel sector. 

    • The Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive 2013/11/EU (the “ADR Directive”) is currently not adapted to disputes arising from new trends in consumer markets. This new proposal aims to amend the Directive to better align it with modern consumer markets. The proposed amendments cover a number of different issues, including extending the scope, adapting the definitions, extending access to ADR entities and ADR procedures, reducing reporting by ADR entities, the information obligation and extending consumer assistance. 

    • The Online Dispute Resolution Regulation (“the ODR Regulation”) was drafted with a view to establishing the European Online Dispute Resolution platform (“the ODR platform”), where consumers and businesses can submit their disputes relating to online purchases to ADR entities. With an average of only 200 cases per year submitted to the ODR platform, the cost of maintaining this tool is not justified. It is therefore proposed to repeal the ODR Regulation, to abolish the ODR platform and to remove the obligations of online businesses in relation to the ODR platform. 

    Last update
    18 January 2024