The Internet has revolutionised our lives in a way comparable to the industrial revolutions of the previous centuries. Electronic commerce and online services in the broader sense are now at the heart of the lives of consumers, businesses (from the largest to the smallest) and citizens in general.
Challenges still exist, and the European Commission wants to drive change in order to facilitate a more sustainable digital economy. Based on the results of a recent public consultation, the Commission adopted an e-Commerce Communication on 11 January 2012. The Communication contains 16 actions aimed at doubling of the volume of e-commerce in Europe by 2015.
1. Ensure that the Electronic Commerce Directive and the Directives protecting online consumers are correctly applied by improved administrative cooperation with the Member States.
2. Ensure that the European strategy for intellectual property rights is implemented rapidly and ambitiously, in particular by means of a legislative initiative on private copying (2013) and the review of the Directive on copyright in the information society.
3. Ensure that the rules on selective distribution are applied rigorously and fight unfair business practices. In parallel to this, ensure that access for citizens to online services is not undermined by anti-competitive practices.
4. Improve training for online traders in their obligations and the opportunities offered by the Digital Single Market.
5. Develop codes of good conduct, good practice guides and guidelines giving consumers access to transparent and reliable information allowing them to compare more easily the prices, the quality and the sustainability of goods and services.
6. Boost the capacity of the CPC network, equipping it with instruments able to ensure that the relevant legislation is implemented in a digital environment at European level.
7. Adopt a “European Consumer Agenda” putting forward a strategy and initiatives to place consumers at the heart of the Single Market, including digital issues.
8. Present a European action plan for online gambling which will focus on administrative cooperation, consumer protection and the development of a legal market.
9. Implement the Directive on falsified medicinal products to ensure adequate protection for patients purchasing medicinal products online.
10. Develop a strategy for the integration of the markets for payments by card, internet or mobile phone.
11. Initiate a consultation in 2012 on parcels delivery, in particular cross-border.
12. Adopt a horizontal initiative on notice and action procedures.
13. Propose an overall strategy on internet security in Europe aimed at better protection against cyber attacks in the EU.
14. Strengthen and facilitate the development of information and communication structures in 2012.
15. Adopt an overall strategy on cloud computing in order to stimulate that sector and provide the legal certainty which economic operators need.
16. Adopt a Communication on spectrum-sharing, including a strategy for the promotion of shared access to the spectrum in the Single Market.