What is the problem? EU online markets are fragmented.

The Digital Agenda for Europe set targets for e-commerce: 50% of the population should be buying online by 2015, 20% should buy cross – border and 33% of SME's should conduct online purchases by this date. To date, e-commerce remains insufficiently developed in the EU. Consumers and businesses have difficulties accessing online shops and offering their services in other EU countries.

Why is EU action needed? To modernise the legal framework for a Digital Single Market

A genuine Digital Single Market would generate new types of growth. The hitherto unrealised potential is enormous and would benefit all territories and sectors of the European Union.

The Digital Single Market is far from achieving its full potential; the cost of the failure to complete it is expected to be at least 4.1% of GDP between now and 2020, i.e. EUR 500 billion or EUR 1000 per citizen.

What has the Commission done so far and what are the next steps?

The Commission , after conducting a public consultation, decided that an update of the e-Commerce directive was not necessary and adopted the e-Commerce Communication in January 2012. The Communication contains 16 actions aimed at doubling the volume of e-commerce in Europe by 2015.

The Commission will implement the action plan announced in the e-commerce communication, notably

  • propose actions to streamline postal delivery, after having consulted with stakeholders
  • adopt a horizontal initiative on notice-and-action
  • propose initiatives in the area of card, electronic and mobile payments (see action 8
  • propose an overall strategy on internet security in Europe aimed at better protection against cyber attacks in the EU