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Issue 9 | February 2012

E-Commerce - Commission adopts an action plan for doubling the volume of e-commerce in Europe by 2015

The Internet economy creates 2.6 jobs for every "off-line" job lost, and offers a better choice to consumers, including those in rural and isolated areas. The European Commission finds that there are many obstacles preventing consumers and business from investing fully in online services: ignorance or uncertainty about the applicable rules, offers that lack transparency and are hard to compare, and payments and modes of delivery that are often expensive and unsuitable. That is why on January 11th the Commission presented 16 targeted initiatives aimed at doubling the share of e-commerce in retail sales (currently 3.4%) and that of the Internet sector in European GDP (currently less than 3%) by 2015.

"In the difficult circumstances facing Europe we must seize every source of activity and new jobs as a matter of urgency. The action plan for e-commerce will create new opportunities for citizens and businesses and will bring Europe much-needed growth and employment. It aims to remove the obstacles which until now have frustrated the development of Europe's Internet economy."

Latest news » « TOP
Mobile Payments - Breaking down barriers to secure and innovative card, internet and mobile payments

Carrying a virtual train ticket or repaying a friend with your mobile phone, buying your groceries online, paying with your debit card abroad - the way European citizens shop and pay is radically changing. A secure and transparent integrated payments environment throughout the EU could create more efficient, modern and safer means of payments – for the benefit of consumers, merchants and payment providers. The Green Paper adopted on January 11th assesses the current landscape of card, internet and mobile payments in Europe, identifies the gaps between the current situation and the vision of a fully integrated payments market and the barriers which have created these gaps. Based on this Green Paper, the Commission seeks the views of stakeholders as to which obstacles hinder further market integration and how these could be resolved. The deadline for submitting contributions is 11 April 2012.

See Consultation
Creation of a High-Level Expert Group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector

As announced at the European Parliament in November 2011, the Commission is constituting a High-level Expert Group on structural aspects of the EU banking sector. In agreement with President Barroso, Commissioner Michel Barnier has appointed Erkki Liikanen as the Chairman of the future Group. Mr Liikanen is currently Governor of the Bank of Finland and formerly a Member of the European Commission. The Commissioner and Mr Liikanen are together considering the composition of the group. The Group should start in March and finish during the course of summer. Its mandate will be to determine whether, in addition to ongoing regulatory reforms, structural reforms of EU banks would strengthen financial stability and improve efficiency and consumer protection. If that is the case it should make any relevant proposals as appropriate.

Restoring confidence in the financial sector – acting regionally and globally

"The current crisis is not only a 'European crisis'. It affects all countries. Therefore, we should reinforce global governance". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Asian Financial Forum, Hong Kong.

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Commission publishes studies on parasitic copying and protection of trade secrets

The European Commission has published a study on the existing national legal protection in the EU Member States against parasitic copying - the practice of marketing products which are designed to look like pre-existing products of well-established brands. The Commission also published a study on the legal protection of trade secrets.


European Patent

25 Member States and the European Parliament have agreed to create a single European patent. The Council reached agreement on everything, except for where the Court headquarters will be located. Statement by Michel Barnier.

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Visits and Missions » « TOP
China and Japan, 13-21 January

After a first visit to China in March 2011, Commissioner Barnier went back to Asia in January 2012. First of all in Hong Kong, Michel Barnier explained the progress made by the EU to strengthen its governance and strengthen stability in the euro area to a large public meeting of investors within the framework of the International Asian Financial Forum. The following days, in Beijing and Tokyo, Commissioner Barnier met the authorities and economic and financial players to assess the implementation of the commitments set at the G20 and emphasised the need for a level playing field to develop trade.

London, 23 January

On 23 January, Commissioner Barnier spent a day in London, dedicated to financial services. He met with a group of high level representatives of the financial sector, spoke about his regulatory priorities at a City conference and met with Chancellor Osborne and Financial Secretary Hoban.


Davos, 25-27 January

Commissioner Barnier paid a short visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos where he was able to meet a diverse set of stakeholders interested in the agendas of reform of the internal market and financial services. Michel Barnier explained the initiatives of the Commission concerning financial regulation, protection of intellectual property, professional qualifications, and welcomed the views of different stakeholders. On Friday 27 January, the Commissioner participated in a round table organised on the theme of the future of global regulatory cooperation in financial matters.

Consultations » « TOP
11.01.2012 - 11.04.2012 Payment Services Green Paper – Towards an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments

08.12.2011 - 10.02.2012 Financial Services Consultation on the application of Directive 2007/44 EC as regards acquisitions and increase of holdings in the financial sector
News from the Parliament » « TOP
Strasbourg, 17 January – Martin Schulz elected new president of the European Parliament

Martin Schulz (Socialists & Democrats, DE) was elected new president of the EP on Tuesday 17 January. His competitors, Nirj Deva (European Conservatives and Reformists, UK) and Diana Wallis (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, UK), collected 141 and 142 votes respectively. In his opening speech, Mr. Schulz already set the tone of his Presidency, especially in the light of the present difficult times for the EU and its citizens: "As a result of the economic crisis, in many countries poverty is on the increase and unemployment has reached disastrous levels among young people in particular." He also took a strong institutional stance, aiming at enhancing the EP's political role and the need to continue to respond to a lack of legitimacy.

See also:
Website: IMCO (Internal Market Committee)
Website ECON (Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee)

For your diary » Latest publications » Question of the Month »
01/03/2012 from 09.45 till 17.45
Public Hearing on the Revision of the Directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP II proposal)

Single Market Act - Together for new growth Single Market Act Together for new growth

Restoring the health and stability of the EU financial sector

Single Market News
Issue 62

Do you feel secure shopping online?


Results from the last month:
Do you think the crisis in the euro zone will boost social entrepreneurship?
YES - 69.3%
NO - 30.7%

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