"No surprise on the plate, consumers' health interests should be protected unconditionally". With this key message Emma Bonino, European Commissioner for Consumer Policy, anounced the first European Consumer Day, 15 March 1999. Commissioner Bonino also stressed that consumer questions should become a driving force in the further development of the Information Society: the Information Society should not develop to a "new platform without law", but a minimum of legislation should be guaranteed in order to protect consumers' interests. Besides consumers protection, questions of access to the new services and participation of consumers should also be taken into account. The satisfaction of consumers should be a decisive criteria for measuring the success of the European Union's liberalisation policy.
The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue was launched in September 1998 at the initiative of the European Commission. The idea is to strengthen the voice of the consumer in order to complement the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, which has substantial influence on the EU-US economic partnership on issues ranging from food, pharmaceuticals and auto safety standards to electronic commerce.