A Consumers’ Europe? Common Market Governance Between Consumers and Commerce, 1960s-1990s

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With the creation of the common market, citizens of the member states became European consumers. The history of consumer governance in the EEC therefore touches upon the legitimation of European integration. In that light, this article traces the institutionalisation of consumer representation in the EEC from the 1960s to the 1990s, and connects this development with the way in which EEC institutions conceptualised the consumer interest. It shows that during the 1970s, the emerging structures for consumer governance came with representations of the consumer as a powerless figure vis-à-vis big corporations, reflecting the powerlessness of the structures of consumer governance within the EEC. Although the consumer was portrayed as a pivotal figure in the completion of the internal market from the mid-1980s onward, this increase in power was merely rhetorical, and institutional changes largely cosmetic. All in all, consumer protection governance remained a relatively weak force of social protection within the EEC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-228
JournalJournal of European Integration History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

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