Friday

27th May 2016

EU to put online market reform at the heart of consumer strategy

  • Better online consumer rights will boost e-commerce, according to the EU executive. (Photo: alles-schlumpf)

The European Commission has put reforming the continent's digital market at the heart of a drive to improve consumer rights, amid concerns about the efficiency of the online single market.

The proposal forms part of a European Consumer Agenda released on Tuesday (22 May) by the Commission aimed at increasing consumer confidence in the single market and is intended to operate in tandem with the EU's Digital Agenda strategy led by Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the Commission paper, "data shows that consumers shopping online across the EU have up to 16 times more products from which to choose, but fully 60% of consumers do not yet use this retail channel." In an internal paper on e-commerce released in January, the EU executive claimed that increasing the proportion of e-commerce sales to 15% of total retail would be worth €204 billion or 1.7% of GDP.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that implementing the Consumer Agenda would increase online consumer confidence, stating that:

"We want to stimulate cross-border shopping online, and this is why the EU and its member states need to bring consumer rights into the digital age. We have taken first steps with the Consumer Rights Directive and with the proposal for modernised data protection rules to boost consumer confidence online."

The Commission paper also includes a pledge to table the long-waited legislation on collective rights management before the end of 2012, alongside discussion on private copying and reprography levies. Rights holders are frustrated that the Commission has dragged its feet on the issue, having promised to come forward with a directive on collective rights for nearly two years.

In its 2011 Intellectual Property Rights Strategy, the Commission promised to submit proposals before the end of last year, while Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier told MEPs that the directive was imminent in February.

The Commission also intends to set out plans this summer to make e-commerce more reliable with legislation on electronic identification and signatures. The EU executive also plans to tighten the rules on misleading advertising to increase the online protection of children.

In response, Monique Goyens, the director general of consumer lobby group BEUC, welcomed the Commission paper, although she stressed that "the litmus test will be the introduction of an EU-wide collective redress system that would benefit Europe's 500 million consumers."

She called on the EU executive to take a "concrete step to strengthen the consumer movement would be to apportion fines in EU competition cases or data protection breaches to projects promoting the consumer interest."

Finance ministers baulk at tax-avoidance rules

Member states will discuss again in June a proposed directive to outlaw practices used by large companies to avoid paying taxes. Meanwhile, the European Parliament makes progress on its probe of Panama Papers.

News in Brief

  1. Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law
  2. Ukraine bans Gorbachev for backing Crimea's seizure
  3. Dozens dead in two shipwrecks outside Libya
  4. Slovak PM says his country is no place for Muslims
  5. Juncker's spin-doctor warns of populist 'horror'
  6. EU urges Hungary to end discrimination of Roma children
  7. Majority of voters think UK will stay in EU
  8. Leading MEP says Greek bailout will not work

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCAEducation and Training 2020 - Giving Young People the Workplace Skills They Need
  2. EPSUTrade Unions Back New Undeclared Work Platform
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCould targeting children’s fitness boost academic performance?
  4. World VisionDeclares the World Humanitarian Summit a Positive Step in a Longer Journey to Ending Need
  5. EJCPresident Dr. Moshe Kantor on Brexit and the Jewish Question
  6. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  7. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  8. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  9. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  11. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  12. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan

Latest News

  1. EU and US threaten to increase Russia sanctions
  2. Nato mulls use of new drones near Libya
  3. Why countries are not rushing to join Putin's union
  4. G7 warns Brexit could hurt global growth
  5. Perceptions over South China Sea dispute are simply wrong
  6. Tech companies eye opportunites in refugee crisis
  7. EU commission reshuffles car emissions expert
  8. Poland's economy feels the heat of rule of law talks