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EuroCommerce lecture: The digital journey of IKEA - 19 SEP 2019

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Digital Single Market Event - 11 JUN 2019

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GDPR at two – no need for change, but better enforcement and transparency vital

Commenting today on the publication of the Commission’s report on the functioning of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“The GDPR is a major EU achievement and a valuable contribution to assuring European citizens that their personal data is being protected and properly used. This is particularly important as we see the digital transformation accelerating.  We therefore see no need, only two years after the GDPR came into force, to change it. However, we want to see the Regulation better enforced, and support the Commission in calling for adequate resources for national authorities, and more consistent application of the rules. We also call for more transparency and better involvement of stakeholders in the work of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) in preparing guidelines consistent with the regulation and important to its proper implementation.”

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Stronger consumer engagement helps drive the green and digital transition – Retailers will make it happen

Speaking today on the launch of the Commission New Consumer Agenda, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“The green and digital transition is fully underway, and is being driven in large part by consumers and what they buy. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the digital transition, making the Commission’s new agenda very timely. Retailers help by providing consumers with ever more ways of making sustainable choices and by asking suppliers for more sustainable, circular, and eco-designed products.”

Retailers need to be able to innovate and respond quickly to changes in consumer behaviour and expectations. To do so, they need a stable and predictable business and policy climate: harmonised rules – and no gold-plating by national governments – , coherent national consumer polices and effective and efficient enforcement across the EU are the best ways of ensuring this.

Legislators need to be careful not to create rigid legal obligations that increase costs and administrative burdens, with only limited benefits. Our experience has shown that sustainability needs to start in the design of the product, making it attractive to consumers. The Ecodesign Directive has already proven its value in promoting better energy consumption, repairability and recyclability, and we believe that the Commission should use this as the primary vehicle for meeting Europe’s sustainability goals. Introducing a ‘right to repair’ may not fundamentally change consumer behaviour, and raises practical questions that have not been resolved yet.

 

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Geoblocking – sensible to keep unchanged for now

EuroCommerce Director-General expressed support for the conclusions in the Commission report on the working of the Geoblocking regulation issued yesterday:

“We are pleased that the Commission has decided to leave the Geoblocking Directive unchanged until their next review in 2022. We fully support the creation of a single market for e-commerce, and call on the relevant parts of the Commission to look at the major differences in member states’ consumer rules, and risk of exposure to legal action in an unfamiliar jurisdiction. Both act as a powerful disincentive to e-traders actively expanding cross-border.”

The Geoblocking regulation adopted 2 years ago obliged online traders to sell to any consumer regardless of their location, but, due to problems relating to the Rome and Brussels regulations, did not oblige traders to deliver outside their own jurisdiction. The Commission decision to wait another 2 years before looking to revise the Geoblocking regulation makes sense, and retailers and wholesalers welcome the conclusion in the report not to change the provisions related to delivery.

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