The field chosen for this study is that of European Union policy on consumer protection.
Its focus specifically relates to the ability of EU citizens as consumers to exercise their
economic rights across borders within the Single Market. The study principally
examines consumer protection policies, but takes account of the role of EU competition
policy in monitoring and shaping the market framework. The study explores not only the
legal embodiment of these consumer rights, but the ability of consumers to access them
in practice; thus the study also focuses on issues related to the enforcement of consumers'
economic rights and their realisation in practice.
The purpose of this study is to enquire into the principal reasons for the rise of the
consumer domain in the EU policy-making frame. It is argued that the Commission has
become increasingly aware of the disaffection with which many EU citizens view the
process of integration. It has tried to improve the functioning of EU consumer protection
policy, with particular reference to the exercise of consumers' economic interests across
borders, as a way of legitimising the Single Market in the eyes of the consumer. A
central component of this strategy has been the use of the rhetoric of the 'citizen
consumer'. The Commission has attempted to compensate for the constraints under
which it operates with regard to proper enforcement in respect of consumers' economic
rights by complementing the indirect measures based on competition policy with a
combined approach of direct measures, based on legislation, soft-law and de-centralised
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.