On December 4, 2019, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) announced the publication of a position document discussing innovation as a principle within Europe and outlining the way forward in the interest of consumers. While BEUC recognizes that innovation can bring many benefits for consumers, they warn that “innovation is not an end in itself, nor is it always beneficial.” They stress that innovation can come with risks and that “there is no real innovation if it does not benefit consumers.” BEUC notes their concern specifically for the ‘Innovation Principle’ that was first introduced in December 2018 under the Horizon Europe research funding program. “As we see it, the ‘Innovation Principle’ essentially aims to counterbalance the Treaty-based precautionary principle,” BEUC writes, with their concern being “that the benefits and risks of innovation are rarely shared evenly between businesses and consumers.”

To address this and other concerns related to innovation within Europe, BEUC recommends regulators to:

  • “Take a risk-based approach to the way innovation is regulated;
  • Put consumers and societal needs first;
  • Make sure innovation leaves no one behind;
  • Engage civil society in a meaningful way;
  • Spend public money on public goods;
  • Involve consumer organizations.”

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BEUC (December 4, 2019). “‘Innovation’: here is the consumer view.”


BEUC (December 2019). “When innovation means progress: BEUC’s view on innovation in the EU.” (pdf)