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Digital transformation and associated technical innovations require adapted standards of protection for consumers. With regard to Artificial Intelligence (AI), the EU Commission has now presented a proposal for a Directive, which lays down special liability rules for damages caused by AI systems. This will pursue the target to enable victims to gain easy access to compensation.

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At the end of March 2022, the European Commission presented the circular economy package, whose fundamental aim is to transform consumption towards an extended life cycle. AK welcomes the legal acts proposed in this package, whilst at the same time requesting to retain the high level of protection of European Consumers and a social and fair drafting of the new regulations.

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AK supports, in principle, efforts to bring health data together and evaluate it scientifically, as this can help to improve diagnostics and therapies and set the course for health policy more rapidly. However, in compliance with data protection, transparent regulation for those affected is needed concerning who has access to the use of health data, for what reasons and to which data.

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Daniela Zimmer

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Alice Wagner (Büro Brüssel)

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A major shift in consumption towards longer service lives, whilst maintaining high level of protection for European consumers, is indispensable for protection of the climate, environment and resources.

 

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Nina Tröger

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Miriam Forster

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Sonja Auer-Parzer

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Peter Hilpold (Büro Brüssel)

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Food labeling rules are key when empowering consumers to make healthy and sustainable food choices, and to positively influence unfavorable eating habits. To improve food information for consumers, AK calls for Nutriscores on food and drinks, nutrition and ingredients information on alcoholic beverages as well as origin labeling on more food categories to be made mandatory. Furthermore, the use of “green claims” has to be regulated to protect consumers from misleading claims and sloppy sustainability information on food.

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Petra Lehner

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Peter Hilpold (Brussels office)

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Sustainable is the buzzword of the moment – regardless of whether we talk about food, clothing or investments. However, how can consumers be sure that a financial product is sustainable and that it “does exactly what it says on the tin”? To provide better guidance, the Austrian Chamber of Labour did not only commission a study to examine sustainable financial products but has also used mystery shoppers assessing the quality of advice regarding sustainable monetary investments provided by 16 financial institutions.

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The goal of this study by AK is to describe the status quo with sustainable financial products. In this context, the following aspects are analyzed:

 

  • Legal framework, laws
  • Factors on the supply side (banks, investment companies, rating agencies)
  • Factors on the demand side (consumers)

 

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The Vienna Chamber of Labour (AK Wien) conducted a practical test to find out whether the legally prescribed product information sheets (“European Standard Consumer Credit Information”) were in fact used or handed out to consumers at meetings with customer advisors on consumer loans.

 

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Credit insurance is a reasonable provision a person can make to protect surviving family members from debt. However, many of the supplemental tariffs should be carefully considered before signing a contract containing them. AK has examined the tariffs for credit insurance policies offered by six banks in Vienna.

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In order to make food supply in Europe more sustainable and to provide consumers with better choices, the EU Commission has launched consultations on improved food labelling in Europe. AK participated in these, demanding, among other, the obligatory introduction of Nutri-Scores and nutrient profiles.