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10 recommendations for better ecommerce industry in Europe

The European elections take place between 23 to 26 May, in a time where Brexit and the growth of euroscepticism are hot topics. Pan-European ecommerce association Ecommerce Europe wants a level-playing field for the Digital Single Market and gives 10 recommendations for a better ecommerce industry in Europe.

Ecommerce Europe has given its recommendations [pdf] in view of the European elections that will take place between 23 and 26 May. Because, as they put it: “Now more than ever, the decision taken by EU policymakers will determine the success of European online retailers globally.”

There isn’t a European or global level-playing field

The ecommerce association thinks it’s a major challenge for ecommerce in Europe that there isn’t a European or global level-playing field. “There’s possible unfair competition from players often based outside the European Union. But ecommerce doesn’t stop at the border of the European Union, it is a global phenomenon.”

And that’s why Ecommerce Europe thinks the European Union should continue working towards a global regulatorily level-playing field for ecommerce and here’s how they could achieve this.

1. Find a global solution for the taxation of the digital economy

“The taxation system should ensure a level-playing field so that companies are taxed in a fair, non-discriminatory and channel neutral way. Thus, EU leaders should push in favor of international efforts and end the discussions around the introduction of unilateral solutions at EU or national level.”

2. Facilitate a transparent and fair parcel delivery system

“Current parcel streams are ill-fitted to accommodate global ecommerce. The postal channel became the facilitator of counterfeiting, VAT and customs fraud. Policymakers shall introduce mandatory traceability for all parcels delivered by any operator, a prerequisite for all functional Digital Single Market.”

3. Safeguard a fair business environment online

Ecommerce marketplaces are without doubt engines of European growth. The EU needs to find the right balance between their interests and the interests of online merchants, especially smaller ones, which depend even more on marketplaces.”

4. Create simple harmonized rules and better enforcement

“Current regulations are too complicated to be understood for both consumers and businesses, specifically SMEs. But simple rules mean easier and better compliance for online merchants.”

5. Create channel-neutral regulations

“The EU should create channel-neutral regulations. A shop should be able to easily offer different sales combinations without any unreasonable legislative burdens for traders.”

6. Enforce adequate safeguards for online shopping

“Policymakers need to ensure that adequate safeguards against cyberattacks, fraud or unsafe products are implemented to maintain trust. Keep monitoring the evolution of fraud in online payments, but don’t develop too much red tape and hamper innovation.”

7. Build an innovative and competitive crossborder payment landscape

“To foster cross-border trade, interoperability between payment systems of Member States is essential. There should be an integral approach to the payment systems market.”

8. Boost innovation and the uptake of new technologies

“The EU is still lagging behind compared to its competitors in the development of technologies such as AI and blockchain. They need to boost financial support for companies developing these technologies.”

9. Allocate the necessary resources for Digital Education

“There is an acute need for human resources with digital skills. The EU needs to invest in and promote digital skills starting from early education and through life-long learning programs.”

10. Boost connectivity across Europe

“Some areas of the European Union are still left behind. Delivering parcels in these areas is challenging and shopping and selling online prove to be difficult due to poor internet connectivity. Europe needs to allocate substantial resources to improve transport infrastructure and fast internet connectivity.”

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