Study trip to Berlin to explore 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 Civic School for Sound EU Practice is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Training series on DCFTA chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development” completed by study trip to Berlin

For 19 representatives of the Ukrainian civil society our study trip to Berlin from 15-20 October 2018 marked the end of their successful participation in our Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) training series on “Trade and Sustainable Development”.

The CiSEP training series focused on the DCFTA chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development”. It not only incorporated the three components of sustainability: “Trade”, “Environment” and “Social Policy” and their state of implementation in Ukraine, but also offered introductions in the monitoring and advocacy work in this sector.

The study trip served as an additional measure to explore topics such as energy and waste management and sustainable forest management, which were only rudimentarily touched during the training sessions. As for the chosen destination, Germany seemed like the ideal pick, as it pursues its way of becoming more sustainable, especially on its transition to non-nuclear energy. Therefore, the main goal was to support the participant’s knowledge of the German approach by visiting state institutions, research facilities, NGOs and other important stakeholders. While doing that, the study trip also enabled the participants to strengthen their professional networks. Different organisations and experts, such as the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the House of Representatives, the German Eastern Business Association, BUND Friends of the Earth Germany and the German Trade Union Confederation welcomed our participants warmly. Apart from those visits, insights on how the concept of sustainability can be practically implemented, which were offered by “Das Baumhaus Berlin”, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development and the waste-fueled power station Ruhleben can be seen as highlights of this trip. During the discussions, the members of our group had the opportunity to ask numerous questions from a Ukrainian point of view and thus entered into a stimulating exchange with the German experts. After five successful days new ideas for creative projects in Ukraine already came up.

Ukraine in the heart of the EU: CiSEP study trip to Brussels

From 20 to 24 March 2018 our CiSEP “EU Association Skills” alumni discovered the world of EU-Ukraine relations in Brussels.

After having dedicated several training months to EU association monitoring and legal harmonization, it was high time to dive into the who’s who of EU-Ukraine relations.

We were warmly welcomed by experts of the European Parliament, the Support Group to Ukraine, DG TRADE, EEAS, ECOSOC, BusinessEurope, CEPS, the European Endowment for Democracy, as well as the Mission of Ukraine to the EU.

Read more…