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You'll find in this section and below a library of resources (mostly) produced by EuroCommerce by type and in chronological order. If you are looking for resources related to a certain subject, issue or policy area, browse our policy areas section.

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Properly working Digital Single Market vital for the future of retail and wholesale
23 May 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce today partnered with the European Business Summit in a special session of the Summit on Tapping the Potential of the E-Commerce Market for Europe.

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren took the opportunity to underline the important changes facing retail and wholesale in a market seeing consumers shift dramatically to buying online and expecting products delivered to their doors almost immediately. He made a direct request to European policymakers to equip the sector with rules which made it possible to respond to these changes, and to face down increasing protectionist tendencies in national markets across Europe:

“Europe needs to harness the power of the largest market in the developed world in order to compete with other rapidly growing digital economies worldwide. While digital content is an important part of e-commerce, tangible goods remain the most important element of online selling for our sector. The Digital Single Market can therefore only function if we have a harmonised and workable Single Market for goods, and one fit for the digital age. The barriers that still exist, and a worrying tendency by many Member States to create new ones, are a priority for all three EU institutions and national governments to tackle, either by enforcing existing rules or agreeing new rules when this makes sense. Europe needs action to allow consumers and traders to make the most of the potential of a market of 500 million Europeans, and we need this now.”

~ENDS~

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Advocate General’s welcome confirmation of retail as a service
19 May 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce welcomed the Advocate-General’s opinion today in the Visser case (C-31/16), that retail should be considered a service within the meaning of the Services Directive. This confirms earlier jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, and increases legal certainty for retail businesses in the EU.

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“The Services Directive is one of the cornerstones of EU law, allowing retail and wholesale businesses to operate in the internal market. The opinion of the Advocate-General published in the Visser case is a welcome confirmation of the applicability of the Services directive to retail, and we hope that the Court will follow this opinion, and provide legal certainty for 5.4 million businesses operating in the EU and the 29 million people working in our sector.”

In 2016 the Dutch Council of State lodged a request for a preliminary ruling in the case of Visser Vastgoed Beleggingen BV v Raad van de gemeente Appingedam (Case C-31/16). The request raised fundamental questions concerning the application of the Services Directive to the retail sector, inter alia whether retail was a service within the meaning of the Services Directive, whether the Directive applied to town and country planning rules, and whether it applied to national situations only. It will now be up to the Court to decide on the case in the light of the Advocate-General’s opinion.  Their decision will have a significant impact on retail activities in all Member States.

Retailers and wholesalers do not dispute the right of local authorities to apply town and country planning rules in the public interest, but as the Advocate-General finds in the opinion, it is important that such requirements are implemented in a non-discriminatory and proportionate manner. Regarding the key question of whether retail and wholesale are services, the EU and national authorities, and other business sectors, have always considered retail and wholesale as service activities.

~ENDS~

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Retailers and wholesalers call for fair competition for platforms
17 May 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking ahead of the European Parliament’s adoption of a report on platforms drafted by MEPs Henna Virkunnen (EPP-FI) and Philippe Juvin (EPP-FR), EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“In the future, platforms will become a more and more important feature in the retail landscape. This will create disruption to some traditional business models, but will also offer new opportunities for innovation and scaling up. Retailers and wholesalers have transformed themselves many times over, in order to meet consumer demand, and are already embracing digital technology to provide what consumers want. But in this, it will be important that competition between bricks-and-mortar retailers, pure player e-commerce companies and platforms is fair. Any policies related to platforms should be developed in a way that helps all retailers of all sizes and channels to meet consumer demand, and which removes unjustified and unfair competitive advantages to any particular retail channel.”

The EP report comes a week after the mid-term review of the EU Digital Single Market strategy, setting out, among other things, the Commission’s further ideas concerning platforms and steps the Commission intends to take. Online platforms are particularly important for SMEs, often providing the easiest first step for small businesses who want to go online and address global markets without excessive investment. SMEs are a vital element of the retail and wholesale sector and play an important role in the development of the digital economy.

The EP report identifies all the key issues that have emerged in relation to platforms and makes a number of useful recommendations for tackling the challenges. EuroCommerce shares much of the EP’s views, in particular on:

  • Fair taxation for all players, and removing the small consignments VAT and duty exemption for non-EU imports;
  • Ensuring appropriate action against non-conforming and unsafe products sold online;
  • Clarifying legal issues around use of customer and sales data, and other competition isues in B2B relations.

An additional area on which we believe urgent action is needed is eliminating distortion in trade caused by the artificially low cost of parcel fees for goods shipped from some third countries, in particular China.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Retailers and wholesalers call for customs procedures to aid competitiveness and growth
17 May 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking after the European Parliament Plenary adopted the own-initiative report by MEP Tiziana Beghin (EFDD, IT) on the evaluation of external aspects of the customs performance and management, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren reiterated the need for customs procedures to work to support the competitiveness of the EU economy and increase the EU’s trade with third countries:

“Customs must of course ensure that our borders are secure and that the goods are properly imported and are safe. But customs procedures also impose burdens and impact directly on the free flow of products in every part of the value supply chain, adding costs and delay for businesses and, ultimately, consumers. We support all efforts to create a simpler, consistently applied and more efficient approach to customs, cutting red tape and saving costs for traders. The recent reform of customs legislation and administration offers opportunities to provide for simpler application through the progressive introduction of advanced and secure ICT system. This could make a major contribution to helping business drive competitiveness and growth both in the EU and in the countries with which we trade.”

The European Parliament report made some useful suggestions on creating consistent application of the new Customs Code across the EU, and the sharing of best practice among customs authorities. The speed and efficiency with which customs authorities deal with imported products affects directly the ability of traders to offer the best choice of goods available on the world market to EU consumers. This was a message which emerged strongly in a successful forum in September last year, held in conjunction with the World Customs Organisation and involving a wide range of stakeholders, on EU customs policy after the new Union Customs Code entered into force in May 2016.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Milk & Meat Market Observatory
16 May 2017 open-close-item

The Milk Market Observatory launched by the European Commission in 2014 aims to provide the EU dairy sector with more transparency by means of disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner. 

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The Meat Market Observatory set up by the European Commission in 2016 aims to provide the EU beaf & veal and pigmeat sector with more transparency by means of disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner. As grocery retailers sell meat and meat products as part of their assortment to end consumers, EuroCommerce is actively participating in its meetings.

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Retailers and wholesalers press for notification of services regulation as for goods
10 May 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking ahead of consideration by EU ambassadors of the Commission proposal to provide for more effective notification of national laws under the Services Directive, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren underlined the importance for the retail and wholesale sector of a system that allows the Commission and European stakeholders to have a chance to comment on new national rules aimed at regulating services before they are adopted:

“The present system under the Services Directive for notifying national measures, many of which can result in real difficulties for retailers and may not be in line with Single Market legislation, simply does not work. Too often, Member State governments do not even follow the present rules and never notify new national rules on services. Where they do notify, this is often only long after the event. The TRIS system for rules covering goods works well, and does not prevent governments regulating in the interest of consumers. I therefore really do not understand why doing the same in services should be such a difficult proposition for governments”.

As the Court of Auditors has reported[i], the present notification procedure under the Services Directive is not working properly – either for the sectors affected such as retail and wholesale, nor ultimately for the governments seeking to introduce new regulation. If a measure has already been introduced, the only way to have it reviewed is to go through lengthy infringement procedures. This is the background to EuroCommerce’s concern to see the European Parliament and Council quickly adopt a notification procedure for services with similar features to the existing procedures for goods under TRIS. This is the time of the Council to reach political agreement in this important area, and move to the next stage.

~ENDS~

 [i] Court of Auditors report (2016) Has the Commission ensured effective implementation of the Services Directive

  

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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European Business Summit - 22&23 MAY 2017
10 May 2017 open-close-item

From the changing face of terrorism to the rise of populism to the ongoing Brexit, the European Union faces unprecedented challenges. Is the EU sufficiently adapted to manage current disruptions and foster new strategies? 

The European Business Summit offers a unique opportunity to provide you with answers by working hand in hand with the business community. Join the debate, engage with experts and shape a new narrative for Europe!

This year EuroCommerce partners with EBS on a strategic roundtable session (Day 2, 15.00): 'Tapping the potention of the e-commerce market for Europe - the best possible scenario for the digitalisation of the internal market.'

EuroCommerce members can benefit from a reduced registration fee (30% discount). If you are interested to benefit from this special offer, please contact Kinga Timaru-Kast at timaru@eurocommerce.eu.

 Klkél

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Retail and wholesale call for further progress on a Digital Single Market to make Europe a global leader
09 May 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren today set out the sector’s positive position ahead of the European Commission’s mid-term review of the EU Digital Single Market to be released tomorrow:

“We are happy to see that the Commission will be taking action on many of our priorities and has been careful to avoid stifling innovation and the emergence of new business models. But the Digital Single Market cannot function without the harmonised and workable Single Market overall. The barriers that still exist to creating a Single Market, and a worrying increase in protectionist measures in Member States, are areas which we urge all three EU institutions and national governments to tackle, either by enforcing existing rules or creating new ones when this makes sense.”

Two years after the launch of the Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission issued a mid-term assessment of progress. EuroCommerce has strongly supported the strategy and the Commission’s efforts to create a truly Single Market fit for the digital age. This support continues, but the retail and wholesale sector is asking European decision-makers to create ambitious rules for the digital transformation of the European economy. In particular, Europe needs action to allow consumers and traders to make the most of the potential of a market of 500 million Europeans.

The key priorities for the sector, for which EuroCommerce has consistently called are:

  • Regulation of ecommerce providing a balanced and fully harmonised framework of consumer and other rules. Harmonising consumer guarantees is not simple, but we regret that little progress has been made on the Commission proposal, especially in the Council. We are happy that the European Parliament‘s position provides for equal treatment for all channels of trading, whether online or offline. For cross-border e-commerce to take off, we need rules that protect consumers and also practical and proportionate.
  • We have supported the idea behind the draft geoblocking regulation, but as proposed, it will do little to boost cross-border e-commerce. At present, even with some welcome amendments, it still falls short of creating legal certainty for traders. The regulation obliges them to sell to markets they have never actively targeted, while being vague as to the degree of their exposure to potentially major legal and commercial risk.
  • Simplifying the VAT regime by the extension of the Mini-One-Stop-Shop, creating of a common VAT threshold, and removing the small consignments exemptions (VAT). The proposed measures on VAT put forward last year are a real step forward, and it would be regrettable if this practical measure were held up by the usual lengthy wrangling over tax measures in the Council.
  • Creating a vibrant EU data market, allowing companies that generate and use data to benefit from its potential on a fair, legally certain and non-discriminatory basis without hindering the contractual freedom of businesses dealing with each other.
  • An e-privacy measure which contributes to a fully harmonised data protection regime for electronic communications. This needs to be fully aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation and does not discriminate against any business model.
  • Clarifying the role, responsibilities and practices of platforms to ensure that traders using them are treated fairly, and that all traders compete on a level playing-fieldin terms of tax, labour and environmental law.
  • Encouragement of employee training to equip people with the digital skills and flexibility needed to meet rapidly-changing consumer buying habits and demands, and changing patterns of work. We also want to see more EU resources into helping SMEs in our sector with the skills and resources to enter the online market

Christian Verschueren added:

“In the uncertain political times and still slow economic recovery, Europe’s economy must be equipped to work on an equal footing with its global competitors. Many of the EU’s retailers and wholesalers have embraced the digital revolution: e-commerce is a source of continued growth, and we can give the strategy a positive scorecard. But this is only the mid-term, and to exploit Europe’s full digital potential, we need to remove remaining barriers to trading cross-border and create a fully Single Market for digital and non-digital trading.”

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Retailers and farmers - partners in the food chain
04 May 2017 open-close-item
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Retailers press for smart policy to help tackling food waste
03 May 2017 open-close-item

Speaking at a debate today organised by MEP Angelique Delahaye (FR, EPP) ahead of the European Parliament vote on more ambitious action on food waste, Lettemieke Mulder, Director Sustainability & Product Policy at EuroCommerce, said:

“Wholesome food going to waste is a scandal, both environmentally and socially, and what’s more, it makes no economic sense. There is no silver bullet to solve these problems at a stroke. We need a package of smart, complementary measures, both legislative and voluntary, to incentivise positive action. One good example is the Italian law adopted last year, which simplifies the food donation process, and allows municipalities to reduce waste taxes.”

A recent report The business case for reducing food loss and waste, issued by the World Resources Institute on behalf of the Champions 12.3 Coalition, shows that for every euro invested in food loss and waste reduction, the median return realised was 14 euros. There is arobust business case for Member States, cities and companies to reduce food losses and food waste. 

Retailers and wholesalers already contribute in many ways to helping reduce food waste and losses, reflected in the EuroCommerce report, Rising to the Food Waste Challenge published earlier this year. The initiatives illustrated there include:

  • reducing waste in their own stores by improving inventory management;
  • working with farmers and suppliers to better match production with retail demand;
  • encouraging consumers to make the most of the food they buy in simple ways, such as explaining the difference between “use by” and “best before” dates, and suggesting recipes for using up leftovers;
  • processing unattractive but nutritious fruit and vegetables into salads or soups;
  • working with food banks and charities to donate food that is not sold.

Retailers and wholesalers are therefore encouraged by the European Parliament’s own-initiative report drafted by MEP Biljana Borzan (HR, S&D) which will be voted on at the European Parliament’s plenary in mid-May. The report calls for a coordinated policy response at EU and Member State level, and rightly stresses the need for smart European and national policies and regulation which allow market players to come up with innovative solutions to tackling food waste.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

older

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation

Filter by:

all

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation