Tanja Popović Filipović

Success Stories / Interview

Centre for Consumer Education and Information – CEIP, President
Croatia
www.ceip.hr

CEIP, the Centre for Consumer Education and Information, is a non-political, civil organisation that acts independently from the government. It aims to provide help to the citizens of the Osijek-Baranya County in Croatia by protecting their consumer rights and encouraging Croatian legislation to adopt the highest standards of consumer protection in a way that is similar to other developed democracies.

The main goal of the CEIP is to protect consumers and their families by helping them change from being passive to active consumers. This means that they are aware of their protected legal rights to goods and services of the highest quality and to legal protection from corruption and bureaucratic and monopolistic injustice.

Tanja Popović Filipović is the president of CEIP and former member of the European Advisory Group for consumer protection. She is still directly involved in recommending the implementation of consumer protection policies. CEIP is also involved in consumer protection in the area of adult, youth and non-formal education.

Project team: How do you personally understand the term ‘Europeanisation’ and how do you envisage it being implemented in your organisation?

Tanja Popović Filipović: For me, ‘Europeanisation’ is a very positive term that refers to the ability to participate in the work of a large community through networking, mobility and funding. In our context that means greater cooperation. It also means that we are able to apply for financial support at an EU level for our major projects. We intend to further increase our European work by introducing a project to increase the global perception on the subject of reducing food waste in collaboration with our European partners.

Project team: What are the biggest challenges that your organisation has faced in its European or international work?

Tanja Popović Filipović: Our organisation has thankfully not experienced any internal obstacles to our international activities: our staff have always been engaged and motivated. The biggest challenge we have faced during our international activities has been financial, in particular covering the substantial costs of frequent journeys to Brussels that are not funded within the projects themselves. We have unfortunately faced several difficulties in this area of finances and this remains a major ongoing challenge for us.

Project team: In which areas of your organisation has European or international work had the biggest impact so far?

Tanja Popović Filipović: We believe that the biggest impact of our international work has definitely been on our organisation’s mission, vision and culture, and on our external relations. We have expanded our mission following the integration of Croatia into the EU since it had previously focussed exclusively on work at a national level. Based on our experiences, we now also have a better perspective of the opportunities and benefits that European and international work provide. This helps us to achieve our goal of making Croatian citizens consumers that are just as proud and legally protected as their European neighbours. In terms of wider impact, almost every activity that we have undertaken with other organisations in the EU has been impacted by our European work. We have seen numerous positive changes to our strategies for leadership, management, human resources, project management and financial management. It has also been very helpful for us to analyse the way in which we dealt with challenges linked to our international work in the past, since this has helped us to further professionalise and strengthen our organisation.

Project team: Where do you see your Europeanised organisation in the future?

Tanja Popović Filipović: I dream about one day seeing our organisation become a member of an international organisation for consumer protection. Such a membership is the only way for us to be able to participate in consumer-related decisions at an EU level. We are currently working to establish a platform for consumer protection in eastern Croatia.

Project team: What would be your advice to other organisations so that they can better manage their Europeanisation or internationalisation process?

Tanja Popović Filipović: Connect, connect and connect. Networking is the best way to improve how you can act in your area. Link your organisation to other organisations and institutions in similar sectors and don’t be afraid of positive changes. They will create a lot of work but will also bring you a lot of success.