Fabian Demicoli

Barriers need to be further dismantled, so that consumers benefit from the digital economy

 The commerce
sector is eager to make a success of the European digital single market,
provided that the conditions for online cross border selling are improved. The
European Parliament presented a study suggesting that with the right policy
measures the single digital market could already in the coming years create
additional EU28 GDP growth of at least 2 per cent, or around 260 billion euros.

The
European Consumer Summit will take stock of barriers which prevent consumers
from accessing the full benefits of a European digital single market and what
regulators need to do to ensure that consumers get the best possible deal that
Europe can offer.

Currently,
the possibilities to get the best European deal are rather limited for
consumers. The commerce sector still struggles with too many barriers which
block the free flow of goods and online services across national borders, in
practice there are still 28 national online markets. Consumers are also
considerably more likely to purchase online from national providers (41 per
cent) than from those located in other EU countries (11 percent).

To
stimulate traders to sell more online across the border it is important to
reduce legal uncertainty. It is also particularly important to harmonize
consumer rights rules and consumer information requirements, which still differ
considerably between EU countries.

A
further push would provide cheaper and more competitive payments. The European
Parliament and Council should therefore swiftly approve the Payment Services
Directive II and the MIF Regulation to make cross border payments cheaper and
more competitive.

Lastly,
important work is needed on postal services, tax administration, skills, and
infrastructure to boost online cross border selling.

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