Facilitating e-commerce in the EU: a key initiative to boost the retail sector

The High Level Group on Retail Competitiveness has presented recommendations to the Commission on how to improve the competitiveness of the EU retail sector by removing barriers to a Single Market for retail services, supporting the development of e-commerce, helping SMEs to grow, promoting innovation and addressing working environment issues. The report shows that e-commerce has an impact on all the main areas identified and that the internal market in retail needs strengthening. E-commerce offers enormous untapped opportunities for the retail sector. Facilitating e-commerce and increasing confidence of businesses and consumers is an area of focus of the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy adopted in May and a public consultation has been launched to gather views on contract rules for online purchases.  The Group also reflects on the role that e-commerce platforms may play as gatekeepers, potentially restricting access of SMEs to the market. The related issues of business-to-business commercial relations will also be dealt with by the consultation on platforms foreseen in the Digital Single Market Strategy. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market and Industry, said “Retail plays a key role in the economy. I thank the High Level Group for its recommendations on how to improve the competitiveness of this important sector. By boosting e-commerce as part of our Digital Single Market Strategy and further strengthening the Single Market with a strategy to be presented in October, my colleagues and I aim to provide the best framework for retail to continue to develop and create jobs and growth in Europe.”