You started as the EU’s Commissioner for Consumer Affairs on January 1 2007. How has the standing of consumer rights in Europe altered in that time?
I am very proud that I have been awarded the honour of being the first EU Commissioner with sole responsibility for the consumer affairs portfolio. This is such a broad, all-encompassing portfolio – covering economy, law, civil rights, environment, sustainable development – and can bring real changes to consumers around Europe. After I arrived, policy for consumers has shifted to focus more on the services sector and the digital environment sector and we have even started for the first time to look at sustainable consumption. Before this, consumer policy was effective in tackling issues like the safety of goods and advertising and consumer rights. Starting to look towards these new challenges, like conditions for consumers at retail level in, for example, energy consumer bills, and on the big new challenges of the digital world, like e-commerce and privacy issues – that has really been for me an important achievement.