President Van Rompuy at Ecommerce Europe reception: “Europe can recapture its digital lead”


In the presence of more than one hundred e-commerce stakeholders, Council President Herman Van Rompuy officially opened the new Ecommerce Europe office in the heart of the European quarter. Following an inspiring speech of François Momboisse in which the President of Ecommerce Europe advocated an integrated approach for e-commerce in Europe, President Van Rompuy gave his insights on the state of e-commerce in Europe.

He concurred with Mr. Momboisse’s vision to converge different policy makers for the benefit of the European e-commerce market, and therefore the European economy as a whole. Europe, Van Rompuy said, should regain its rightful place on the global stage when it comes to the digitalization of the economy:  “Ladies and Gentlemen, the truth, in fact, is that we’ve let our worldwide lead slip. And this lead, Europe needs to recapture it. If we look at the past five years, the annual sales of typical American and Asian ICT companies went up by almost 50%. Meanwhile, for European companies, they stagnated or even sometime went down.” President Van Rompuy delivered a wakeup call for European lawmakers as he perfectly analyzed: “[S]till today – and this is possible the single market’s biggest paradox – the place where we seem to struggle most in bringing down market borders is the digital economy.” This supports Ecommerce Europe’s calls for action to come up with a level playing field on the Digital Single Market.

The formula to achieve this level playing field was handed by Ecommerce Europe’s President, François Momboisse. A single contact point, or one-stop-shop, is what is necessary at a European level to facilitate the convergence of the different policy areas that all are involved in the Digital Single Market. When it comes to data protection, consumer rights, online payments, and parcel deliveries: All policy areas are spread over different institutions in Europe – and it is this problem that Ecommerce Europe wants to tackle with an integrated approach.

As a European leader, President Van Rompuy went further and provided his view on the impact of the digital economy on European society: “Of course it is about investing in infrastructure, and about providing the right rules and regulations. But it is also about skills. The jobs of the future will all be digital at least in part. And digital business opportunities are plentiful, for those who have the skills to seize them.”

It was no coincidence that the opening of a new office coincided with the launch of Ecommerce Europe’s new strategy, prior to the European elections in May. A reinforced Ecommerce Europe team has put effort in raising awareness on the benefits of the digital economy for Europe. This should pave the way for a better future. As President Van Rompuy summed up at the end of his speech: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am confident Europe can recapture its digital lead. That we can and will fully connect the continent. And I wish Ecommerce Europe much success in promoting a more connected and more digital Europe.”