EU must ensure uniform interpretation and enforcement of cookie rules

Shares wants uniform interpretation and enforcement of cookie rules in Europe. The lobby organisation announced this in a letter to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda).

“In a month in which the internal market is actually celebrating the twenty years of its existence, I hope that we can manage to realise harmonisation of these cookie rules and their enforcement”, is what Ed Nijpels, chairman of, wrote in the letter.

Currently no real harmonisation
At the moment, everywhere in Europe the European guidelines on the use of cookies are being interpreted differently. What’s more, each country organises enforcement differently, as well as the moment at which the rules will be enforced. For example, the Dutch enforcer, OPTA, has been particularly diligent in comparison with enforcers in other countries. Clearly, there is a complete lack of harmonisation, and of a level playing field for businesses in Europe. Dutch webshops are suffering as a result. “This is severely disrupting the level playing field for Dutch businesses, resulting in a competitive disadvantage. Moreover, as you [Kroes, ed.] rightly pointed out, it is discouraging foreign businesses from becoming active in the Netherlands”, says in its letter.

In an interview last week with, the European Commissioner herself stated that, in her opinion, the same interpretation of the European guidelines for cookies should apply to all 27 EU-countries. “I can’t explain to foreign businesses that they are treated differently in different countries”, said Kroes.

European regulations for a uniform interpretation and enforcement supports this viewpoint and feels that a uniform explanation and enforcement from within the European Union should become an important priority. The lobby association for webshops wrote the letter to draw attention to the problem. This will require organising the following matters:

  • a uniform interpretation of the rules on cookies;
  • uniform enforcement of the rules;
  • enforcement that is synchronised throughout all member states.

Read here: the letter to Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner