The Commission presents an action plan for the development of electronic commerce in the EU

The European Commission presented an action plan aimed at doubling the volume of e-commerce in Europe by 2015. In particular, the Communication presents 16 targeted initiatives for doubling the share of e-commerce in retail sales (currently 3.4%) and that of the Internet sector in European GDP (currently less than 3%) by 2015.

The Communication presented by the Commission puts forward an action plan which intends to facilitate cross-border access to online products and content, ultimately solve the problems of payment, delivery and consumer protection and information, and assist dispute resolution and the removal of illegal content, thus helping to develop an Internet that is more secure and more respectful of fundamental rights and freedoms. According to the Commission, the aim is to create an environment more likely to foster a dynamic Digital Single Market by tackling the problems in its path, while promoting investment in wireless connectivity and new-generation fixed infrastructure and supporting the development of cloud computing. In December 2011, the Council stressed that fostering the Digital Single Market should be a priority.

In addition, the Communication also indentifies the obstacles preventing consumers and businesses from investing fully in online services, such as legal cross-border supply shortage, inadequate information and protection for consumers, inefficient deliveries and payments, illegal content that is still too difficult to manage, and the dangers of the spread of cybercrime.

However, the potential of electronic commerce and online services, according to the Communication can be up to 20% of employment and growth over the next five years. Furthermore, it will foster cohesion across Europe because the access to goods and services will also be made easier for geographically isolated or vulnerable people. The Commission also assures that if 15% of retail sales were e-commerce and the obstacles to the internal market were removed, the gains for consumers might be as much as €204 billion, or 1.7% of European GDP.