As part of the Commission's Digital Single Market strategy and its plan to boost e-commerce, new laws to tackle geoblocking and promote customer trust through better protection and enforcement were adopted in 2017 and 2018. A new regulation on making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient is also being in its final stages of adoption.

A logo showing ecommerce as an online cart

The value of e-commerce in the EU is growing, but its full potential still remains untapped. Only 15% of consumers buy online from another EU country and 8% of companies sell cross-border. As part of its efforts to unlock the potential of e-commerce, the Commission had adopted a package of proposals to stop unjustified geo-blocking, increase the transparency of parcel delivery prices and improve the enforcement of consumers' rights on 25 May 2016.

Subsequently, the revised Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation was adopted in December 2017, while the Regulation on addressing unjustified geoblocking in February 2018. In December 2017, the co-legislators also reached a provisional agreement on the Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services.

Preventing geoblocking and other forms of discrimination based on nationality or place of residence

The regulation on geo-blocking aims to provide more opportunities to customers: it addresses the problem of customers not being able to buy products and services from traders located in a different Member State, or being discriminated in accessing the best prices or sales conditions compared to nationals or residents. Consumers and businesses – especially SMEs – show an increasing interest in shopping across the EU; 68 % of internet users in the EU shopped online in 2017.

Main elements of the Regulation:

  • access to products and services
  • access to websites
  • non-discrimination in payments.

Making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient

On 14 December 2017, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreement to make prices for cross-border parcel delivery services more transparent and affordable and to increase regulatory oversight of the EU parcel market. This agreement needs to be formally approved by the Parliament and the Council.

Read the Commission's proposal from 25 May 2016.

Increasing consumer trust in e-commerce

The revised Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation improves the EU-wide cooperation mechanism for consumer protection.

In May 2016, the Commission also published updated guidance on unfair commercial practices to respond, among others, to the challenges presented by the digital world. The revised guidance also incorporated two sets of self-regulatory principles agreed among stakeholders.

Background

The e-commerce package of May 2016 complemented two legislative proposals on the supply of digital content and on online and other distance sales of goods which the Commission proposed in December 2015 and are currently under negotiation by the co-legislators and the VAT rules for electronic commerce, adopted in December 2017.

Useful links

Published: 
25 May 2016
Last update: 
9 March 2018
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