The Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), the European Movement Germany (EBD) and METRO GROUP would like increase the visibility of trade in the political and social life of Brussels. That’s why we have initiated the Brussels Wednesday Social based on the model of tried and trusted Berlin-format- the salon culture.
On 4 September 2013, the Brussels Wednesday Social took place for the first time in the Solvay Library. Like its counterpart in Berlin, the event has the objective to promote dialogue between politics, business and civil society. It was hosted by METRO GROUP and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) with the support of European Movement Germany (EBD). It gathered 130 guests at the Bibliothèque Solvay to discuss EU consumer protection. EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection Neven Mimica agreed to deliver the key note speech.
Consumers throughout Europe expect an effective consumer protection from the EU, that provides safety and reliability on the one hand and transparency and information on the other hand. The first Brussels Wednesday Social focused on these expectations by citizens and on possible solutions by policymakers. The European Commission's position is very clear, said Consumer Protection Commissioner Neven Mimica:
“No compromise on safety.”
METRO Board Member Heiko Hutmacher stated that the citizens are “at the heart of consumer protection”. He said the consumers were 500 million individuals with different needs and that there was no “typical consumer”. The empowered consumer was a good mental model to adopt.
“The trade and the food industry connect people and build bridges between markets and cultures”, Hutmacher stated. At the end of the day, trade companies had to implement and embody consumer protection, which meant “a high degree of responsibility”.
Safety, enforcement, information and tangible benefits for consumers – emerging as key themes for tonight's Mittwochsgesellschaft #MGBRU— Neven Mimica (@MimicaEU) 4. September 2013
In order to assume this responsibility, Commissioner Mimica intends to “make consumer rights visible” together with the trade industry and other actors. A “good consumer protection policy, that gives security and confidence to shoppers, should not be a burden or a luxury. Consumer policy is also economic policy.”
Invite business to endure consumer rights do not just exist on paper: help us make them more visible in stores and on line. #mgbru— Neven Mimica (@MimicaEU) 4. September 2013
Mimica regards the EU consumer protection policy as one of the best examples of the benefits that the European Union provides in the everyday lives of EU citizens. He invited the audience to work with him to achieve a good consumer protection policy and to ensure that “consumer rights do not only exist on paper”. He explicitly praised the format of the Brussels Wednesday Social, which could become a good element of the dialogue between politics, business and civil society.