The impact of the Digital Single Market strategy on E-Commerce: what are the trickle down effects for corporations and consumers?

Speakers: Constantin Simona, McMillan Neil
Moderator: Crofts Lewis

We are most pleased to invite you to participate in an evening of discussion on the theme of the impact of the Digital Single Market strategy on E-Commerce and the trickle down effects for corporations and consumers with our distinguished speakers

  • Mrs Simona Constantin, Member of Cabinet of Commissioner Vĕra Jourová,
  •  Mr Geoffrey MamdaniCase Handler, DG COMP, European Commission and 
  • Mr Neil McMillan, Director, Advocacy and Political Affairs, EuroCommerce.

The debate will be moderated by Lewis CroftsChief Correspondent at Mlex.

This event is kindly sponsored by

About the debate

On the 6th of May the European Commission unfolded the plans to reform the EU digital single market by presenting a series of key actions. Within the areas listed, the Commission took clear stances on cross-borders digital services to swiftly allow a wave of business innovation and enhance the growth and jobs agenda for Europe. In order to grant “better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services”, notably the so called first pillar of action, the strategy document indicates the necessity of making cross-border e-commerce easier.

Via its digital single market strategy, the Commission intends to review and simplify the set of legislation on online cross-border purchases by both harmonising the rules on contracts and by removing barriers, aiming at increasing the quantity, the geographical scope and the fairness of both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) cross-border commercial relations. The same day the Commission announced the launch of an e-commerce sector inquiry on “potential barriers erected by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services” especially “where e-commerce is most widespread”. This last initiative seems to complete the digital agenda strategy with a reflection on e-commerce in terms of pricing.

The Commission’s expectation about the e-commerce reform potentials are reflected in their  estimation of the reform’s benefits in terms of consumer savings, B2B and B2C relations, as well as on big data analytics. The Commission has highlighted that a low European citizens’ percentage purchase on-line, and mainly in their own Member State, and few EU small and medium enterprises sell cross-border despite the high demand for such services. Before the EU institutions stances, at a national level, some Member States have already been inquiring on e-commerce in terms of competition. The UK Competition and Market Authority, for example, scrutinised the digital market in terms of barriers to access.

The Commission digital single market strategy will include several legislative initiatives to be presented in both 2015 and 2016 affecting e-commerce widely. These will encompass measures to tackle unjustified geo-blocking, further harmonisation of the copyright regime, such as the portability of legally acquired content, the clarification of the rules regarding intermediaries and the modernisation of enforcement of intellectual property rights, especially for commercial-scale infringements. Moreover, the Commission will launch before the end of 2015, a comprehensive assessment of the role of platforms, including those belonging to the sharing economy domain, while, in the first half of 2016, the European Commission will initiate the establishment of a public-private partnership on cyber security in order to find viable solutions for online networks.

The above measures, along with the streamlining of the parcel delivery process and the VAT arrangements, which are other actions foreseen in the framework of the Digital Agenda, should not only facilitate cross-borders exchanges online, but also assure that consumer and business alike will become more trustful, thus more inclined to be the protagonists of the wave of changes. Nevertheless, some commentators have underlined that as the very details of the reform, its means of implementation and the final beneficial effects on both consumers and businesses  are yet unknown, it is too early to evaluate and measure its possible impacts.

What are the trickle down effects of this new wave of e-commerce reform for corporations and consumers alike?

Please note that the debate will be held under the Chatham House Rule. The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed by a debate at 7h30 pm. After the debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.
 We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 23rd of June at Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science 14-B, Brussels.