“No time for business as usual”: European Commission Work Programme 2016


The European Commission has presented its Work Programme for 2016 in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Under the title ‘no time for business as usual’, the Commission communicated to the European Parliament and the Council its main priorities for the year to come.

Digital Single Market

In its Work Programme 2016, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker underlines the importance of a connected Digital Single Market (DSM): “(…) a thriving digital economy can expand markets and create new sources of employment. Europe can lead here if we can overcome fragmentation, improve the offer to European consumers and open up new opportunities for business”. Furthermore, the Commission announces further proposals on “copyright, geo-blocking, free flow of data, the cloud, and VAT for electronic commerce” in 2016. Ecommerce Europe shares this overall vision on the importance of the Digital Single Market and also sees the need for policy proposals in the field of geo-blocking and VAT for e-commerce. However, new proposals should not create two different legal regimes for the same product when it is sold online or offline. Therefore, Ecommerce Europe advocates for having same rules for offline and online sales.

Action plan on VAT in the context of the Digital Single Market

Another important point that the Commission stressed in its Work Programme 2016 is the need for an action plan on VAT. The Commission specifically states that initiatives should be taken in the context of e-commerce and the Digital Single Market. Ecommerce Europe welcomes a proposal for the harmonization of VAT taxation, and hopes the Commission will continue to carry out this vision with concrete proposals in 2016.

Next steps

Ecommerce Europe will participate in the shaping of the new proposals and always remains in close dialogue with the European policy makers to ensure the voice of the e-commerce sector is heard. For more information about Ecommerce Europe’s priorities for a better policy landscape that fosters e-commerce growth, please see the Ecommerce Europe Priority Paper (2015).

For more details on the timing and exact content of the Commission’s proposals, please contact Team Brussels.