The EU Commission is committed to continually improving consumer protection through the business community’s self-regulation and voluntary control. To support this goal, a Working Group was convened today in Brussels with representatives of all social groups to actively drive forward the further development of the Principles for Better Self- and Co-Regulation. Patrick von Braunmühl, Managing Director of the non-profit association SRIW (Selbstregulierung Informationswirtschaft e.V.), was appointed to the Working Group’s Steering Committee by Robert Madelin, Director-General for Communications.

At today’s opening event in Brussels, von Braunmühl noted: “To enhance the protection of consumers in the digital world, it’s crucial for businesses to participate in drafting and implementing consumer rights and minimum standards. Here, the state needs to offer incentives and improve framework conditions. In Germany in particular, the co-regulatory approach to consumer protection is still seriously undeveloped.” Given the international nature of digital products and services and ever shorter cycles of innovation, alternative regulatory instruments are gaining in importance as national legislation reaches the limits of its effectiveness. Self- and co-regulation measures enable service providers to take up responsibility and, in cooperation with supervisory authorities, react swiftly and effectively to the current challenges in products and services.

However, a real value-added is only created for consumers if the self-regulation measures are credible. On the basis of a public consultation in summer 2012, the EU Commission identified the essential prerequisites for such credibility and incorporated them into its Principles for Better Self- and Co-Regulation. These include such aspects as designing the measures with due care and suitable to the various interests, ensuring there are clearly defined responsibilities, and creating effective supervisory bodies equipped with sanction mechanisms.

According to SRIW’s Chief Executive Officer Harald Lemke: “These Principles foster trust and promote credibility in the business community’s voluntary measures to ensure the protection of consumers.”

The EU Commission aims to disseminate the Principles widely and continually develop them further.


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