Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Better access for consumers and business to online goods

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The Digital Single Market strategy wants to allow better access for consumers and business to online goods and services across Europe. This will remove the key differences between online and offline worlds, to break down barriers to cross-border online activity.

A Digital Single Market requires better access to online goods and services, both for people and for businesses.

The Commission will propose:

Rules to make cross-border e-commerce easier

Many people in Europe remain reticent about engaging in the range of online activities that could improve their daily lives. While ¾ of Europeans used the internet on a regular basis in 2014, only 15% shop online from another country. Moreover, only 7% of SMEs online sell cross-border. To help cross-border e-commerce to flourish, the Commission updated EU rules (the e-commerce directive), clarified contractual rights, and develop enforcement (cross border enforcement cooperation).

Enforcing consumers rules

The Commission will review the Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation.

More efficient and affordable parcel delivery

62% of companies that wish to sell online identify high delivery costs as a problem. High prices and inefficiencies of parcel delivery should not be an obstacle to cross-border online commerce. The Commission will assess action taken by industry and launch complementary measures to improve price transparency and enhance regulatory oversight of parcel delivery.

Ending unjustified geo-blocking

Geo-blocking is a practice used for commercial reasons by online sellers that result in the denial of access to websites in other states. Geo-blocking, hence, limits consumer's opportunities and choice, causing dissatisfaction and fragmentation of the Market. The Commission will make proposals to end unjustified geo-blocking (see geo-blocking and rights of recipients).

Launching an antitrust competition inquiry into e-commerce

The Commission launched a Competition Sector Inquiry to identify potential competition concerns affecting European e-commerce markets.

A modern, more European copyright framework

Copyright drives creativity and the culture industry in Europe. Limits to cross-border access to copyright protected content is common. This often means that you cannot take your own content abroad, and that you cannot access many TV and radio programmes from other Member States.
Innovation and research too are hampered by the lack of a clear EU-wide legal framework. It is also necessary to ensure that the value generated by some of the new forms of online content distribution is fairly shared. The Commission has proposed modernised copyright rules to facilitate wider online availability of content across the EU, to modernise the framework of exceptions and limitations and to achieve a well-functioning copyright market place.

A review of the Satellite and Cable Directive

The Satellite and Cable Directive has been reviewed to assess whether and to what extent the legal mechanisms similar to the ones established by the Directive could be used in the envisaged EU copyright modernisation measures, in particular to facilitate the online cross-border distribution of television and radio programmes.

Reducing VAT burdens

Companies trying to trade across borders face the obstacle and complexity of different VAT systems. The Commission will propose to cut this burden – for example with a single interaction point, a common threshold, and simpler, single audits.

See the Commission priority on the Digital Single Market.

Last updated on 14/09/2016 - 13:15
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Roberto Viola's picture
Roberto VIOLA
2016 is when many elements of our DSM strategy will get going. This is a year where we move into delivery mode, with many proposals and legislative initiatives ahead. Debates, results of consultations, and policy proposals.
Roberto Viola's picture
Roberto VIOLA
Today is my first day as Director General of DG CONNECT.
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