Smart consumers for a smarter Europe

Wednesday 17 October 2018 ore 17:00 - 19:00

European Parliament, Room A5E2, Altiero Spinelli building, Place du Luxembourg side - Brussels

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Il 17 Ottobre ha avuto luogo la conferenza pubblica “SMART CONSUMERS FOR A SMARTER EUROPE”. Durante la conferenza, che ha rappresentato lo stadio conclusivo dell’iniziativa SMART CONSUMERS, I-Com ha presentato il suo studio sui principi adottati dai legislatori europei per rafforzare la protezione dei consumatori, ma anche su come la diffusione degli strumenti digitali ha creato nuove sfide e opportunità per essi.

La conferenza pubblica ha seguito questo doppio approccio: da un lato, i relatori del primo panel “THE NEW EU REGULATORY SCENARIO FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION” hanno discusso le ultime proposte legislative sulla protezione dei consumatori; dall’altro, il secondo panel “DIGITAL TOOLS FOR CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT” si è concentrato sullo sviluppo di nuove tecnologie, come i chatbot e gli strumenti online di comparazione dei prezzi.

I-Com presentation


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On 17 October 2018 took place the public conference “SMART CONSUMERS FOR A SMARTER EUROPE”. During the conference, which represented the conclusive stage of the initiative SMART CONSUMERS, I-Com presented its study on the principles adopted by European Policy makers to enhance consumer protection, but also on how the diffusion of digital tools created new challenges and opportunities for consumers.

The Public Conference followed this twofold approach: on the one hand, the speakers of the first panel “THE NEW EU REGULATORY SCENARIO FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION” discussed the latest legislative proposals on consumer protection; on the other, the second panel “DIGITAL TOOLS FOR CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT” focused on the development of new technologies, such as chatbots for customer care and online price-comparison tools.

I-Com presentation
I-Com study


[tp lang=”it” not_in=”en”]Speakers intervenuti:[/tp][tp lang=”en” not_in=”it”]Speakers intervened:[/tp]

Head of sector, E-Commerce, Digital Single Market, DG CONNECT


Born 1975, of Italian and Austrian origin, is an official of the European Commission, working in the European Institutions since 2002, after 3 years of experience in EU Law firms in Brussels (Coudert Brothers) and London. Since mid 2016 she is Head of sector in the E-commerce and platforms F2 unit in DG Connect. Before that she has been for 2 years Member of the Cabinet of Vicepresident Ansip, in charge of Digital Single Market and in particular e-commerce and the 5 previous years Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Oettinger in charge of renewable energy. She has been also formerly assistant to the Director General of DG Energy, and legal expert in DG COMPETITION for 5 years (State aid and antitrust). She also worked as Legal Secretary (Référendaire) to the President of the Court of First Instance CFI, Judge Vesterdorf and Judge Enzo Moavero Milanesi at the CFI in Luxembourg between 2005 and 2008. She is a lawyer of the Rome bar since 2002 and visiting professor at different university and postgraduate programmes (Zentrum Integrationsrezcht – ZEI in Bonn, Luiss and La Sapienza in Rome, Tamkang in Taiwan) and frequent lecturer at numerous conferences in the field of EU law and her fields of interest. She is also author of many articles and books.

Marie-Paule BENASSI
Acting Director for Consumer Affairs, DG JUST, European Commission


Mrs Benassi is Acting Director in charge of the EU consumer policy at the European Commission since 1st September 2018. She has been dealing with this policy since 2003 as head of communications, head of consumer protection, public health and food safety at the EU Delegation in China and most recently as head of enforcement of consumer law and redress. She has notably managed the network of consumer protection authorities and modernised the enforcement cooperation framework used among these authorities to tackle practices of large players harming consumers’ interest at the EU level. Recently, these authorities worked on issues such as the dieselgate, unfair terms in social media contracts or price transparency in online travel services. She has also been active in developing concrete redress tools for consumers: the network of European Consumer Centres and the legislation on alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution.

A lawyer and economist from La Sorbonne, her career begun in Paris, in the Ministry of Economy, within the department for short-term economic forecasts. At the European Commission she previously worked as a trade economist at Eurostat and then a head of Euro-Mediterranean policy in the Trade General Directorate.

Founder, Digital Together

President, I-Com


Stefano is the President of I-Com, which he founded in 2005, and he teaches political economy and economic policy at Roma Tre University. Previously, he directed the Observatory on Energy Policy of the Einaudi Foundation. He is an expert member of the Technical Secretariat for the Protection of Nature at the Ministry of the Environment, of the Task Force on investment in the electricity sector of Eurelectric. He is the Scientific Director of the Association La Scossa, founded in 2011, and he is member of the board of the Brussels-based European Foundation EYPROM. He is Member of the Scientific Board of several institutions and initiatives, and the author and editor of numerous publications on economic subjects, particularly with regard to policy and regulation of the energy market and infrastructural services and the governance of the institutions. He conducted studies and consultancy assignments for Italian and international public institutions, including the Senate of the Republic, the Department for EU policies, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the OECD, and also leading Italian and foreign companies and non-profit organisations. He holds a Master’s degree in economics at the CORIPE Piedmont and a Master of Arts in Economics at the George Mason University (USA).

MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists Group, IMCO Committee


Daniel Dalton has been Conservative MEP for the West Midlands since January 2015. Daniel is Coordinator for the ECR Group on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), where he has been involved in a significant number of trade and digital single market-related legislation and is currently shadowing the proposal on the free flow of non-personal data. Furthermore, Daniel is a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE), where he is the rapporteur on the European criminal records information system (ECRIS-TCN) and has been shadowing the e-privacy regulation.Particular areas of interest for Daniel include cybersecurity, ePrivacy, the sharing economy, as well as automation and the wider digital revolution.

Deputy Secretary-General and Digital Society specialist, ANEC


Holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in law. She is Senior Manager responsible for Policy & Innovation. Chiara supports the Secretary-General on policy development and on relations with ISO/COPOLCO. She also manages the Accessibility and Digital Society Working Groups and supervises the Smart Meter & Smart Grid Project Team.

Senior Policy Officer, EDiMA


He works at EDiMA, the European trade association that represents online platforms and other innovative tech companies. He specialises in consumer affairs and online privacy issues. Prior to EDiMA, he worked at a Brussels-based public affairs consultancy working in digital and collaborative economy issues. Prior to that, he was a trainee on the staff of the European Commissioner for Research & Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. He holds an LL.M. with distinction in Innovation and Technology from the University of Edinburgh. During his studies, he specialised in intellectual property, information privacy, and competition issues in innovation driven markets.

Director of Legal Affairs, Confindustria


Lawyer, he graduated with honors from the Faculty of Law of Luiss-Guido Carli University of Rome. In 2006 he joined Confindustria, the main association representing manufacturing  and service companies in Italy, and in 2014 he was appointed Director of Legislative Affairs Department.  Also from 2006, he collaborates with the Chair of Commercial Law, Faculty of Law of Luiss-Guido Carli University. He is author of various publications in the field of Commercial Law, Public Law and Competition Law.

Senior Manager, Regional Affairs Europe, Internet Society


Maarit Palovirta is a Senior Manager for Regional Affairs in Europe at Internet Society. She works on Internet development and policy issues across Europe and Central Asia. Maarit is leading several initiatives on Internet connectivity development in Europe and is actively engaged in policy discussions with European stakeholders including the EU institutions. Previously Maarit worked in ICT business development and government advocacy with Cisco Systems and with well-known public affairs consultancies in Brussels.

Attaché on Competitiveness, Permanent Representation of Austria


Currently, Katja Schager is Attachée for Competitiveness at the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. During the Austrian Presidency, she is Co-Chairing the working party on consumer protection and information (in the framework of the Modernization Directive). Katja studied business law and holds a Bachelor´s and Master´s degree from Vienna University of Economics and Business. During her studies, she went to Chicago for an Exchange Semester (DePaul University) and was active in different student- and young professional associations. After her judicial clerkship in Vienna, where she worked at the District Court Hernals, the Regional Court in Korneuburg and the Commercial Court in Vienna and internships at well-known law firms she started to work for the Austrian Economic Chamber, where she was among other things working with the office of the Secretary General. After that, Katja started to work for the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (now: Federal Ministry for Digitalization and Economic Affairs). Before coming to Brussels as Attachée for Competitiveness, she worked in a Legal department in the private sector.