In future all consumer complaints could be sent to one and the same body. Mr Vande Lanotte insisted that Belgian law affords consumers great protection: 'As a rule our legislation is tighter than in many other countries.'
The Consumer Affairs Minister has greater concerns about the way this legislation is implemented: 'We've got several ombudsmen, but it's all rather fragmented. There are a number of arbitration commissions too and people often forget that they have rights because of the different jurisdictions'.
Mr Vande Lanotte is proposing a complete reorganisation and the creation of one single ombudsman service. The service's job will be to provide information, to act as a receptacle for complains but also as an arbitrator: "What we don't need is a piecemeal approach: disputes about travel here, energy there. There should be a framework so that the consumer knows where to address his complaint."