25 consumer benefits from the EU Single Market

What is the impact on consumers of the EU Single Market and the European Consumer Centres Network, ECC-Net? We have listed 25 concrete benefits to mark the 25th anniversary of the EU Single Market.

The 28 EU Member States together with the EEA countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein form the EU Single Market. Goods, services, persons and capital should be able to move between these 31 countries without being hindered by customs duties, charges, discrimination or national requirements. The member states also jointly introduce and implement new legal acts on a continuous basis.

25 benefits from the EU Single Market

  1. The single currency. Within the EU, there are 19 countries to which you can travel and get by with the euro as the only currency. The holiday countries Spain, Portugal and Greece are among these countries.
  2. The new General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation known as GDPR has harmonised legislation on the protection of privacy throughout Europe, so that it is the same for everyone. Fact sheet for EU citizens on GDPR.
  3. The ECC Network. Each EU Member State and also Iceland and Norway have an European Consumer Centre that provides consumers with free help and advice related to cross-border trade. The European Consumer Centre Finland is part of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA).
  4. Same rates apply when roaming within the EU/EEA. Under the new roaming rules, you do not have to pay extra charges when using your mobile phone in the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland. Instead, you usually pay approximately the same rate as in Finland. Read more.
  5. Compensation for flight delays and cancellations. The EU has developed Air Passenger Rights to protect you as an air passenger and to make it easier for you to get compensation in case of delays and cancellations. Read more.
  6. Free travel app. The app enables you to keep track of your rights when travelling within the EU and to get help in all 24 official languages within the ECC network. Read more and download the app here
  7. Protection in connection with timeshare contracts and holiday products. The so-called Timeshare Directive protects you in connection with a timeshare contract. A timeshare usually entitles its holder to use a property, a unit in a holiday resort or another form of accommodation such as a boat for a period of one or two weeks per year. This can involve being a member in a club or being entitled to points that can be used against similar kinds of accommodation in another holiday resort. consumers mostly encounter timeshare promoters in the tourist resorts of Spain and especially the Canary Islands. Read our checklist for buying timeshare.
  8. Right to withdraw from distance purchases. You always have a 14-day statutory right of withdrawal when making, for example, online purchases within the EU and the EEA. The cancellation right does not apply, among others, to products manufactured or modified according to the consumer’s wishes or otherwise clearly made to correspond to the consumer’s individual needs. Read more.
  9. Fairer trading methods. The EU Anti-Dumping Regulation is intended to protect the EU’s own producers and entrepreneurs against unfair trade practices, for example by stopping imported products whose price has been artificially reduced through state interference. Read more.
  10. Safe goods and products. The comprehensive safety directive and the standard for CE marking ensure that product safety in Europe is at an extremely high level. In Autumn 2018 in Finland, a bunch of authorities and other organisation – including the European Consumer Centre Finland – campaign together to provide consumers with tools for choosing safer products online, especially if ordering outside the EU. Read more about “At your own risk” campaign.
  11. Live and work wherever you want. Looking to move to another EU country? The Free Movement Agreement makes it possible. Read more about free movement for EU citizens.
  12. Safer card use. The Second Payment Services Directive entered into force this year. For you as a consumer, this means, among other things, limitation of the costs that can be charged for card payments and better consumer protection against fraud. Read more.
  13. Guarantee is always valid. If you buy a defective product within the EU, you have at least two years guarantee. How to make a complaint to the trader.
  14. Protection on bus journeys. Your rights as a bus passenger over long distances are regulated by an EU regulation. Read more.
  15. A larger shopping choice. The openness of the European Single Market provides you with more choice, lower prices, and goods that are not available on the domestic market. Read more about internal market.
  16. Easier to get justice. There are simplified legal procedures for cross-border consumer issues, such as the European Small Claim Procedure and the European Payment Order Procedure, so that you as a consumer can get help more easily.
  17. No customs duties. Worried about customs fees when shopping online? There are no customs duties within the EU. More information about customs when ordering goods online outside the EU.
  18. A new package travel law. During Summer 2018, a new EU directive enter into force and clarified the protection of the 120 million consumers who annually book various forms of travel package or linked travel services. Travel package combines of at least two different types of travel services booked for the same trip or holiday, for a combined price. With a package travel you are more protected than when buying only flights, for example.
  19. Alternative to dispute resolution. The ADR Directive and the ODR platform are two tools for the European Consumer Centre to reach alternative dispute resolution between consumers and entrepreneurs. You can use the ODR Forum in Finnish too.
  20. Easier bank transfers. The Single Euro Payments Area, SEPA, has been created to simplify bank transfers within the EU. More information.
  21. Watch or listen to your online streaming across EU. Under an agreement concluded, you will have the same access to the online content services (as the Netflix) you have subscribed to in all EU countries. The rules cover all types of streaming services – films, TV and music – and will apply by the end of the year. More information.
  22. Support for disabled travellers. One of the EU initiatives is the so-called Disability Card, which will make it easier for people with disabilities to travel between EU countries. Finland is among the first countries that are with the system.
  23. Get medical care anywhere. With the European Health Insurance Card, you can receive necessary medical care during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, and also in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost as those insured in that country.
  24. Choose the bank you want. Free movement of capital means that you have the right to open a bank account in any EU country. More information.
  25. The end of geo-blocking. At the end of 2018, it will become forbidden in the EU to discriminate against consumers and businesses as regards access to prices, sales or payment terms based on the country from which they make an order. More information on geo-blocking regulation.