Ecommerce Europe and European Commission discuss how to foster cross-border e-commerce


Ecommerce Europe has recently met with different representatives from the European Commission about the implementation of the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy presented in May by Commission’s Vice-President Ansip. Ecommerce Europe presented the results of its Survey “Barriers to Growth”, which points out the biggest barriers to cross-border online sales in Europe. The policy makers and Ecommerce Europe engaged in fruitful discussions on the next steps needed to implement future legislative proposals.

Consensus on the need to tackle VAT-related issues in e-commerce

The European Commission representatives responsible for taxation presented their measures on VAT included in the DSM strategy, which are overall supported and on the same page of Ecommerce Europe. Some of the proposed solutions are the extension of the current Mini-One-Stop-Shop to the online sale of tangible goods and the introduction of simplification measures to help small start-up e-commerce businesses, which Ecommerce Europe has been advocating for a long time.

Participate in the consultation on contract rules for online purchases

Policy makers from the Commission in charge of consumer affairs explained the status of their future measures on contract law. The discussion focused on the current public consultation on contract rules for online purchases of digital content and tangible goods. The aim of the consultation is to collect interested parties’ views on how to remove contract law obstacles related to e-commerce. Ecommerce Europe is drafting an answer to the consultation, but also national associations and their members are invited to participate in the public consultation and to provide their valuable feedback. The deadline is 3 September 2015.

Other topics discussed: Privacy and payments

Among other topics, the meeting touched also the e-Privacy Directive. The Commission has reiterated that the review of the Directive will start only after the adoption of the Data Protection Regulation. For the revision, a public consultation will be also launched and Ecommerce Europe will be ready to provide its input to the policy makers in order to ensure that the new rules will recognize the important role of data-driven marketing and electronic communications in e-commerce.

On e-payments, the Commission explained how the new Payments Service Directive 2 (PSD2) will bring more security in online payments, for both businesses and consumers. The European Banking Authority will publish technical guidelines and exemptions for the application of the PSD2, and a consultation will be launched in January or February 2016, to which Ecommerce Europe will provide input.

Next steps

It was clear after the meeting that both parties are strongly willing to work and find together workable policy solutions to break down remaining barriers to e-commerce. Ecommerce Europe will stay closely in contact with policy makers in order to ensure that the incoming legislative initiatives will make cross-border online sales simpler and easier for both consumers and traders.

To read more in detail Ecommerce Europe’s recommendations for fostering online sales in Europe, you can download Ecommerce Europe’s Priority Paper here.