Ukrainian Delegation Exploring German Consumer Protection

How does Germany implement EU-standards in the sector of consumer protection? What does feder­alism mean when it comes to guaran­teeing food safety? Who imple­ments consumer protection rights and which role do alter­native dispute settlement proceedings play?

Our study trip gave answers to these and many more questions to Ukrainian consumer advisers, visiting Berlin from 25–30 March 2019. For 18 partic­i­pants from all over Ukraine this trip was the final highlight of the training series on imple­men­tation of EU consumer protection in Ukraine, which took place over the course of six months.

The workshops trained the partic­i­pants on the basics of EU-consumer protection laws as well as food safety and they were able to work with many practical examples from other EU member or candidate states.

Within the framework of the EU associ­ation the Ukrainian consumer protection system is being reformed funda­men­tally. The legal harmon­i­sation with its constantly growing body of EU consumer protection regula­tions as well as the insti­tu­tional and practical arrangement within limited resources puts the Ukraine under enormous pressure. Taking these facts into consid­er­ation the Ukrainian consumer advisers are asked to give useful impulses on creating Ukrainian consumer politics and to actively fulfill their role as a connecting element between politics, admin­is­tration and consumers.

The study trip in Berlin was aimed at showing the inter­action between EU and national legis­lation as well as its imple­men­tation in a decen­tralised state. The partic­i­pants’ knowledge and compe­tences were strengthened by visiting state insti­tu­tions, consumer offices, NGOs and other stake­holders. At the same time the study trip gave oppor­tunity to expand the partic­i­pants’ profes­sional networks. Among other things, the group visited the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the Feder­ation of German Consumer Organi­za­tions, Stiftung Warentest, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the German Concil­i­ation Body for Public Transport and the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic.

The group was given the chance to discuss topics such as the insti­tu­tional linkage in the areas of product and food safety and the respon­si­bil­ities of companies in relation to market surveil­lance by the state. Especially the practice of dispute settlement appealed to many on the background of the Ukrainian juridical system. Apart from that the impor­tance of consumer research for goal-oriented consumer politics as well as effective consumer protection worked as a common theme throughout the study trip.

The study trip took place as part of the Civic School for Sound EU Practice, which is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.