France’s privacy watchdog launched public consultation on its draft Recommendation on cookiesCNIL, France’s data protection authority, has recently published a draft recommendation concerning practical methods of obtaining Internet users? consent for operators using online tracking tools. The draft guidelines are part of an action plan to help better protect users’ privacy against the unjustified use of their data. CNIL declared that online profiling for advertising purposes ”can be massive and perceived as intrusive”. CNIL mentioned it has received numerous individual and collective complaints relating to online marketing and stated that its mission is to deal with these complaints and, more generally, to ensure the proper application of the legal texts by combining professional support tools (such as its guidelines and the draft recommendation) and the recourse, if necessary, to its powers of investigation. Companies have until 25 February 2020 to comment on the draft, which will then be finalized and lead to a six-month period for companies to adapt to the new measures. More information (in French) can be found here.
Ecommerce Europe contributed to a consultation on the Roadmap for the Circular Economy Action PlanOn 20 January, Ecommerce Europe contributed to a consultation of the Roadmap of the Circular Economy Action Plan. In March 2020, the European Commission announced that it will adopt a Circular Economy Action plan. The Action Plan will help to modernize the EU’s economy and stimulate the development of lead markets for climate neutral and circular products. Ahead of the publication of the Communication, the European Commission published a Roadmap outlining the issues at stake, and the objectives of the future Communication. The Commission uses roadmaps to define the scope of new policies or plans, describe the problem and explain why EU action is required. The roadmap explains that the action plan aims to speed up the transition towards a circular economy. To achieve this, it will: include a sustainable products policy, include measures to empower consumers to contribute to the circular economy, help reduce waste generation and support the modernization of certain waste laws, foster a well-functioning and integrated internal market for secondary raw materials to ensure that they are safe, competitively priced and reliable, identify actions to address high-impact sector and seek to build European leadership at global level by working closely with key global partners. Ecommerce Europe?s feedback presents the key principles that will be further developed in its Sustainability Working Group. To get a copy of the contribution, please contact Juliette Beaulaton (juliettebeaulaton@ecommerce-
Commission’s White Paper on Artificial Intelligence has leakedA Commission draft White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has leaked. The Commission paper gives insight into proposals for a European approach to AI. The draft presents five options for different regulatory branches: voluntary labelling, sectorial requirements for public administration and facial recognition, mandatory risk-based requirements for high-risk applications, safety and liability, and governance. The labelling would offer developers the change to commit to ethical and trustworthy AI. The Commission considers time-limited ban on facial recognition in public spaces. Moreover, AI will have to deal with GDPR provisions, giving citizens ?the right not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling?. The third field in which regulation will be introduced, will feature binding instrument only applicable to ?high-risk applications? of AI. In the field of liability and safety rules, changes might be made to EU safety and liability legislation in the field of product safety, radio equipment and product liability. Finally, with regards to governance, the Commission foresees an effective enforcement system with public oversight with the help of national authorities. The US has also presented a draft guidance on ten ”Principles for the Stewardship of AI Applications.” The approach by the US also has a strong focus on managing risks and maintaining security.
Brussels’ conference on the Digital Services Act in March 2020On 24 March 2020, ForumEurope is organizing a Conference on the Digital Services Act: ?A new rulebook for the digital economy??. The keynote speaker at the conference will be the Danish Executive Vice-President ?A Europe Fit for the Digital Age? of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager. The registration has opened hereand more information will become available soon on the website of the event, which will take place in Brussels.
Croatian Presidency Working Paper outlines prioritiesA working paper of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU shows that the Council will work on during the first semester of 2020. The Croats are still planning on continuing the negotiations on new ePrivacy legislation and they want to close this file during their Presidency. The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament has scheduled a one-hour presentation of Croatia on the continuation of the ePrivacy proposal on 21 January at 15h30. Apart from e-Privacy, the Presidency will support the European Commission in its work on AI and the Digital Services Act.
Breton: EU ready to act on digital tax, if OECD failsEuropean Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said on 20 January that the European Union will take action if discussions at the OECD level on the digital services tax for big tech companies do not lead to an agreement. Breton also noted that EU countries which failed to agree on a tax in an earlier stage, are now on the same line. European Parliament to hold a hearing on Product Liability Directive and the Digital Single Market The Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) will hold a public hearing on the Product Liability Directive and on protecting consumers in the Digital Single Market. The event will take place in the EP on 22 January 2020 from 14h30 to 16h30. The aim of the discussion is to hear the views of stakeholders and academia on the need to review the Product Liability Directive and on related challenges in the new digital age. It would allow participants to present their views on whether the overall liability regime is adequate to facilitate the uptake of the new technologies, and to address the matter from different perspectives. It will also offer the opportunity to hear the Commission?s conclusions of its evaluation work and results achieved in the Expert group on liability and new technologies together with a presentation of further plans in this regard. Ecommerce Europe will follow the debate and report back to members accordingly. More information can be found here.
Europe urged to use industrial dataEuropean Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, has stated during an interview with Financial Times that Europe has to help its companies to do more with industrial data to help them stave off competition from the US and China. These plans are part of the EU?s ambition to achieve ”digital sovereignty” over America. Part of this is to be harsher on non-EU internet companies. Breton considers revising the EU?s e-Commerce Directive, which has not been changed in 20 years. Breton states that the Directive has to adapt to some fears, complaints from governments, citizens for the responsibility of platforms with regards to illegal and inappropriate content. Breton concludes stating that ,,big companies cannot say it is not my fault or it is not my responsibility”.
CEN/TC331 blocks standardization efforts on Electronic Advanced Data requirement for customs and securityNational standardization authorities sitting in the European Committee for Standardization (CEN)’s Technical Body on Postal Services (CEN/TC 331) blocked an agreement on activating standardization for electronic advanced data (EAD) systems for customs and transport security. Standardization work is integral to the EU VAT E-commerce Package, which is mandated by DG GROW to CEN/TC331. As a result, the existing mandate to CEN/TC331 is in danger of failing. CEN/TC331 and the European Commission need to explore alternative routes to make the work done available to the wider postal sector players For more information, please consult the full report or contact our e-Logistics Expert Walter Trezek (email@example.com).
Tech companies urge EU not to hold them liable for illegal contentBig tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have accepted that removing illegal and harmful activity might require a new oversight body ahead of a new Digital Services Act, but they do not want to be held liable for all illegal content on their platforms. Until present, the EU allowed platforms to regulate themselves for illegal material in everything except content related to terrorism. Thierry Breton, the Commissioner overseeing digital economy has said during his confirmation hearing that he will not give in on the liability of tech companies. Senior officials have said that the process of concluding the DSA is very unpredictable and can still take a long time to come to an agreement.
European Parliament confirms negotiating position on Collective RedressOn 9 January, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament confirmed the Parliament?s position on collective redress. Following the confirmation, MEPs can now start the negotiations on the final shape of the legislation with the Council, which had already previously adopted its general approach. The Representative Action Directive is part of the New Deal for Consumers, and aims to ensure stronger consumer protection in the EU. The proposed rules allow consumer organizations, or other eligible entities, to pursue collective actions, and according to the European Parliament ?enforce a high level of protection and to represent the collective interest of consumers?. The Parliament?s position introduces the ?loser pays principle?, ensuring that the losing party reimburses the winning party?s legal costs, to avoid abusive use of the new instrument. The next step will be the trialogue negotiations. Both technical and political trialogues are already scheduled to take place in January.
Ecommerce Europe meets Commission President Ursula von der Leyen?s digital adviserOn 23 January, Ecommerce Europe will meet Commission President Ursula von der Leyen?s digital adviser, Antony Whelan. His responsibilities include the Digital Society and Economy, the Digital Single Market, the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs, Research and Innovation and Competition. Mr. Whelan is also the contact point for the Executive Vice-President for Europe fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager. With the meeting, Ecommerce Europe sets out to discuss the priorities of the Commission?s current mandate, the challenges for the e-Commerce sector and exchange views on ongoing and new policy files. From Ecommerce Europe, Luca Cassetti, Director of Public Affairs, Léon Mölenberg, Senior Policy Advisor and Marc Lolivier, Vice-President of Public affairs at Ecommerce Europe and Director General of the French Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (FEVAD), will attend the meeting.
The US and France seek tax compromise to avoid French sanctionsSteven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, and French Finance Minister Le Mairespoke to each other on 7 January and agreed to increase their efforts to reach a compromise on their tax conflict. France introduced a digital tax of 3% on the revenue made by tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. The US argued that these measures are discriminatory and therefore responded with a measure that would affect 2.4 billion dollars of French products such as wine, cheese and makeup. Both leaders agreed to try and reach an agreement within 15 days. On the same day, the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, has met with the French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, to discuss an action plan for possible US sanctions. The US has threatened with a 100% tariff on French luxury products after government investigation found the French tax discriminates against American technology companies. Hogan will also talk to Le Maire?s American counterpart next week. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is developing a global digital services tax, something big tech companies desire themselves as they will not have to adapt to many different fiscal systems across the globe.
Omnibus Directive officially entered into forceOn 7 January, new rules on better enforcement and modernization (also known as the Omnibus Directive) of the current EU consumer rules entered into force. The rules are part of the Commission?s New Deal for Consumers. The rules set out to create more transparency of online marketplaces by making it clearer whether products are sold by an individual or a trader. In addition, the submission of fake reviews or endorsements will be prohibited. Important for the e-commerce sector, is the clause on price reductions. According the Directive, sellers will no longer be allowed to have what the Commission calls ?fake price reductions?. This means that sellers will have to indicate for every price reduction, as a reference price the lowest price applied within a period of at least 30 days preceding the price reduction announcement. Ecommerce Europe is organizing a meeting with the Commission?s DG GROW to further discuss our concerns on these new rules and invited other EU industry stakeholders to meet on 16 January to coordinate our action at EU level. Although the rules have entered into force now, in practice, from adoption, member states have 24 months to adopt the measures necessary for its implementation. These measures will start to apply 6 months later.
Ecommerce Europe members invited to participate in consultation on cryptocurrency in the EUThe European Commission is exploring ways to address the challenges created by the emergence of crypto-assets such as bitcoin and the effect these new technologies will have on how financial assets are issued, exchanged, shared and accessed. It has begun the impact assessment process to assess if new legislation is needed in this field. The Commission has opened two consultation procedures. The first is to collect Feedback on the Inception Impact Assessment on a Directive/regulation establishing a European framework for markets in crypto-assets. The Inception Impact Assessment is a concise preliminary document highlighting the context, issues that are meant to be tackled, possible policy options and a preliminary impact assessment. The European Commission is seeking feedback on the content of the Inception Impact Assessment, to feed into the broader impact assessment process. The deadline is 16 January 2020. The second is a Public consultation on EU framework for markets in crypto-assets has been opened to clarify various aspects of the use of crypto-assets and the current regulatory framework and invite stakeholders to express their views on the best way to enable the development of a sustainable ecosystem for crypto-assets. The deadline for this consultation is 12 March 2020.
European Data Protection Supervisor publishes its preliminary opinion on data protection and scientific researchThe European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has published its preliminary opinion on data protection and scientific research. When scientific research involves personal data processing (e.g. medical research), it falls under the General Data Protection Regulation and other relevant applicable rules. The EDPS acknowledges that there are two camps: one claiming that the GDPR offers too much flexibility and another believing that it limits the innovative aspect of research. Therefore, the EDPS advises to have further discussions between data protection authorities and ethical review boards in order to find out which research activities are deemed as genuine research. Furthermore, the EDPS recommends EU codes of conduct for scientific research, closer alignment between EU research framework programs and data protection standards, and to initiate a debate on the circumstances in which access by researchers to data held by private companies can be based on public interest.
The digital commerce sector is at a turning point. Now more than ever, the decision taken by EU policymakers will determine the success of European e- retailers globally. What makes an e-retailer competitive in a global market is profoundly changing. Businesses have to operate in a globalized business environment where a company’s competitive edge depends on access to new technologies, data, the capacity to operate efficiently cross-border and to adapt rapidly to evolving consumer behavior. Catching up with the growth of digital commerce and the pace of innovation in other markets, especially Asia Pacific and North America, will require strong political will to achieve a harmonized, borderless Digital Single Market, and equally important, a global level-playing field. EU policymakers need to seize the opportunity of the new upcoming mandate in the European Institutions to build a strong political vision for digital commerce. A major challenge for the European e-commerce sector is the lack of a European and ultimately global level-playing field, with possible unfair competition from players often based outside the European Union. E- commerce does not stop at the border of the European Union, it is a global phenomenon. Hence the EU should continue working towards a global regulatory level-playing field for e-commerce. ECOMMERCE-EUROPE-MANIFESTO-FOR-EUROPEAN-ELECTIONS-2019
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the following attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 10-07 to 16-07. This week, Ecommerce Europe will be meeting with several EU policymakers to discuss two important proposals: the New Deal for Consumers and the Platform-to-Business relations (P2B). In particular, on 18-19 and 23 July, Ecommerce Europe will meet with the Permanent Representations of Luxembourg, Ireland, Bulgaria and Belgium. Furthermore, Ecommerce Europe will meet with: Mr. Eric Peters, from the Cabinet of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel; Representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate General in charge of the New Deal for Consumers (DG JUST); Mr. Werner Stengg, Head of Unit „E-commerce and online platforms” of the European Commission’s Directorate General in harge of the Proposal on Platform-to-Business relations (DG CONNECT); The assistant of the Shadow Rapporteur for the one of the two proposals of the New Deal for Consumers in the European Parliament, MEP Jasenk Selimovic. Furthermore, this week the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities, focusing mainly on the Digital Services Tax, New Deal for Consumers and Platform-to-Business relations. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: EU Commission and EU consumer authorities push Airbnb to comply with EU consumer rules The European Commission and EU consumer authorities are calling on Airbnb to align their terms and conditions with EU consumer rules and be transparent on their presentation of prices. Commissioner Jourová declared today that: „More and more consumers book their holiday accommodation online and this sector has brought many new opportunities to holidaymakers. But popularity cannot be an excuse for not complying with EU consumer rules. Consumers must easily understand what for and how much they are expected to pay for the services and have fair rules e.g. on cancellation of the accommodation by the owner?. The Commissioner expects Airbnb to follow up swiftly with the right solutions. In particular, the Commission believes that Airbnb’s current pricing presentation and a number of its terms do not comply with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive, and the Regulation on the jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters. Therefore, the European consumer authorities and the Commission have demanded from Airbnb a number of changes. Airbnb has until the end of August to present their proposals. Once Airbnb proposes its solutions, the Commission and the EU consumer authorities will evaluate them and, if they are not considered satisfactory, Airbnb could face an enforcement action. Austrian Presidency of the Council publishes a revised text of the ePrivacy Regulation On 10 July, the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU released a revised text of the Proposal for a Regulation on Privacy, focusing on Permitted processing, Protection of end-users’ terminal equipment information and Privacy settings, which are respectively covered by articles 6, 8 and 10 (and the related recitals). This text will be considered by the national delegations in view of the discussion in the Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society (WP TELE), which will take place on 17 July. In Article 6, the Presidency introduced a possibility for further compatible processing of electronic communications metadata. Furthermore, additional safeguards for the protection of citizen?s data have been included. Regarding Article 8, no amendments were introduced. However, further details on conditional access to website content have been provided. Regarding Article 10, on privacy settings, the Presidency announced that it would like to discuss the possibility of deleting the article from the regulation and its respective recitals. MEP Gebhardt reports back to the EU Parliament on the negotiations regarding contracts for the supply of digital content On 11 July, the Rapporteur for the Proposal for a Digital Content Directive, MEP Gebhardt, reported back to the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament on the state of play of the interinstitutional negotiations on this legislative file. She warned that there were difficulties with the Council in reaching an agreement and that MEPs need to put pressure on the Council. Ms. Gebhardt stated that there are two outstanding issues: smart goods (goods with embedded digital content) and the level of harmonization. These issues could not be dealt with in technical meetings, as they are very political, so they will need to be discussed at trialogue level. She stressed that the Council has so far declined to include smart goods in the scope of the Digital Content Proposal, saying that they should be included in the Sales of Goods Proposal. The European Parliament, however, insists on the fact that smart goods are digital goods, at least as far as the digital component of these goods is concerned. Ms. Gebhardt said that this is creating a huge problem since the Council failed to come up with any common position on the Sales of Goods Proposal. She also expressed her fear that an agreement on this file will not be reached by the European elections in May next year. MEP L?kkegaard reports back to the EU Parliament on negotiations regarding the Accessibility Act On 11 July, the Rapporteur for the Proposal for a European Accessibility Act, MEP L?kkegaard, reported back to the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament on the state of play of the interinstitutional negotiations on this legislative file. Mr. L?kkegaard said that, during the last trialogue which took place on 10 July, all parties had confirmed their willingness and dedication to make progress on this file. Since the Council did not have an updated mandate, no specific movement on the most difficult topics was made. However, compromises were found on some technical issues. For instance, on enforcement, the European Parliament and the Council have similar approaches and they both seek to limit the possibility to end up with numerous litigations. The Parliament limits actions to people who have direct interest in the case and the Council to organizations that have received approval of the consumer to introduce a complaint on their behalf. Furthermore, the Parliament was supported for adding the proposal for alternative dispute resolution. The next trialogues will take place on 2 October and 8 November, with the hope to have the final result by then. EU Parliament held a public hearing on consumer protection and the New Deal for Consumers On 11 July, the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament held a public hearing on ?Better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules?, in the context of the New Deal for Consumers. More specifically, during the hearing, participants discussed about a modification proposed by the Commission to the Consumer Rights Directive for a fairer right of withdrawal, in order to avoid abuses by consumers caused by over-use of goods that are returned to the trader. A representative from the University of Passau stated that, based on a survey they conducted, there were no sufficient data that would suggest there is a requirement to make changes to the right of withdrawal. This is because, according to her, the majority of SMEs stated they never faced disproportionate burden when accepting the return of unduly tested goods. Ecommerce Europe does not agree on the conclusions of this survey, and fully supports the Commission?s approach for an amended right of withdrawal, which would avoid consumers? abuses of such a right. Also other stakeholders stated that the ?limitation of the right of withdrawal is not the right approach? and that it should be deleted from the proposal. MEP Dalton, the IMCO Rapporteur for the Proposed Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, said that he plans to publish the draft report in the coming days, with a deadline for amendments in the IMCO Committee in September and, hopefully, a committee vote in November 2018, so that the trialogues could start in January 2019. He also said that the limitation to the right of withdrawal has little support in the European Parliament and that fines on turnover were too repressive. He also questioned the part of the legislation on online rankings because requirements to disclose product placement on shelves in offline stores do not exist. On the other hand, the European Commission has said that it fully stands behind the right of withdrawal, but that it believes that the current obligations pose an undue burden for retailers, which is perfectly in line with the position of Ecommerce Europe. Therefore, the Commission proposes simpler rules which would only impact a minority of consumers. Ecommerce Europe is meeting with EU policymakers to represent the interests of online merchants in this important discussion.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at:Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 03-07 to 09-07. This week, Ecommerce Europe will attend the official opening of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU where the Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media, Gernot Blümel, will address the main priorities of the presidency. Furthermore, this week the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities, focusing mainly on the Digital Services Tax, New Deal for Consumers and Platform-to-Business relations. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: Ecommerce Europe to meet legislators on New Deal for Consumers and Platform-to-Business relations Last week, Ecommerce Europe published two new position papers, covering two important files: the Proposal for a Regulation on fairness and transparency in online platform trading and the Proposal for a Directive on better enforcement and modernization of EU consumer protection rules. The first Proposal was published by the European Commission in April 2018. Ecommerce Europe overall welcomed its publication. In particular, we appreciate and support the soft-touch and principle-based approach of the Commission. Online platforms, such as e-commerce marketplaces, are engines of growth. That is why we want this Regulation to struck the right balance between their interests and the interests of online merchants, especially SMEs that sell via marketplaces. Well balanced also in redress rights which, in our view, are best served by a transparent complaints-handling completed by a fair mediation system, however not by the proposed representative court action, which lacks the balance between collective redress and individual redress. The second Proposal is part of the New Deal for Consumers package, also presented in April 2018. In general, we agree with the Commission on the fact that EU Consumer Law is mostly already fit for purpose and need only some targeted adjustments. Some changes included in this proposal, for instance on the right of withdrawal, are likely to foster online sales, by removing current burdensome obligations on merchants. Nevertheless, we question some other adjustments that may ultimately harm businesses. We already sent our contributions to the EU legislators and we will already meet with some of them before the summer break. For more information, please download our position papers from this website. The Digital Services Tax is a de facto tariff, according to PIIE The Peterson Institute for International Economics published its policy brief on the European Commission?s Proposal introducing a (temporary) Digital Services Tax, claiming that it de facto acts as a prohibited tariff, under the WTO rules. These claims come from the Proposal?s high revenue thresholds and exclusion of certain revenues which would inevitably discriminate U.S. companies as opposed to the European ones. The policy brief warns that the U.S. could therefore decide to retaliate and sets out several possible U.S. retaliation responses to the DST. The PIIE policy brief is available here. Ecommerce Europe is actively lobbying for a global solution, at OECD level, since the taxation of the digital economy is a global issue. The European Payment Retail Board published new documents stemming from the meeting on 18 June As you may remember, on 18 June, Ecommerce Europe attended the 9th meeting of the European Payment Retail Board. The participants discussed – among other things – the new workplan of the ERPB for 2019 to 2021, that will be finalize during the next meeting in Autumn, as well as the work of the European Commission on ongoing files. The new workplan will likely include key topics for the ecommerce sector, such as e-Identity, fraud, obstacles to electronic payment or interoperability of point-of-interaction acceptance for instant payment. All the relevant documents of the meeting can now be found on the ERPB webpage. This week in the EU Parliament: Accessibility Act, Digital Content Directive and EU consumer protection rules On 11 July, the Rapporteur Morten L?kkegaard will report back to the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee on the state of the negotiations regarding the Accessibility Act. Likewise, the Rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt is scheduled to report back to the committee on the discussions on contracts for the supply of digital content. Moreover, the IMCO Committee will hold a public hearing on ?Better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules?, in the context of the package ?New Deal for Consumers?. Members and experts will discuss the post-REFIT proposal on the revision of consumer law. The hearing will also provide input for an IMCO implementation report on the same topic, to be elaborated later this year. The program and other details are available here. Ecommerce Europe will follow the discussions and will provide a summary in due time. In the meantime, Ecommerce Europe published it position paper on the New Deal for Consumers (Part I), which is available here. First player to embrace European harmonized parcel label for more sustainable and efficient last-mile delivery Eco2city is a Dutch non-governmental organization (NGO) that supports cities all over Europe in their effort to achieve efficient and zero emission city logistics. As part of this goal, Eco2city has become the first player in Europe to implement the European Harmonized Parcel Label, recognizing its ability to positively impact the future of last-mile delivery. Ecommerce Europe and GS1?s joint blue paper The Business Case for the Harmonized Parcel Label, states that ?E-commerce is fundamentally changing postal and parcel markets?. However, ?? the current parcel streams are ill-fitted to accommodate this?. The sharing of data between players involved in a delivery is crucial to improving the efficiency and sustainability of last mile delivery. The Harmonized Parcel Label and its globally unique parcel identifier will help answer the future demands of all stakeholders in the delivery service industry, including customers, manufacturers, retailers, integrators, e-fulfilment companies, carriers, parcel collection/return points and the government. As you may remember, in 2016-2017, Ecommerce Europe chaired a working group within the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to deliver the harmonized standard for parcel labels. For more information, please read the press release of GS1 in Europe here.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at:Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 26-06 to 02-07. Today, Ecommerce Europe has launched the new European B2C Ecommerce Report 2018. The report gathers data collected and provides with e-commerce facts, figures and trend while offering great insights into European e-commerce markets, describing both the commercial opportunities, as well as various challenges. To download the report, please visit this website. Furthermore, this week the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: Ecommerce Europe sent a letter on the Digital Services Tax to the European Council ahead of their meeting on 28-29 June Ecommerce Europe sent a letter on 25 June warning the European leaders that the proposed Digital Services Tax (DST) would have a negative impact on the EU economy, as it would harm European businesses, particularly SMEs. Ecommerce Europe expressed its concerns about the fact that the DST targets company revenues, not profits, and called the leaders to rather focus on working towards a global solution through the OECD. While not supporting the DST Proposal, Ecommerce Europe proposed a few suggestions on how to make it less problematic in case Member States agree to pursue that solution. Safeguards that take into account profitability, avoidance of double taxation and ensuring enforceability against non-EU companies are the three major suggestions on how to improve the DST Proposal. In addition, Ecommerce Europe recommended a sunset clause to be included in the Proposal which will ensure that it will indeed be an interim measure on the way to a new international solution. The letter is available here. European Council meeting concludes: The Council should work forward on the Commission proposals on digital taxation During their meeting on 28 and 29 June, the EU heads of state and government concluded that ensuring fair and effective taxation is a key priority. The leaders agreed that the fight against tax avoidance, evasion and fraud must be vigorously pursued both at global level (notably in the OECD) and within the EU. Moreover, they stressed that there is a real need to adapt the taxation systems to the digital era. Therefore, they called on the Council to take work forward on the Commission proposals on digital taxation. More information is available here. European Commission and four online marketplaces sign a Product Safety Pledge to remove dangerous products On 25 June, four major online marketplaces, Alibaba (for AliExpress), Amazon, eBay and Rakuten-France have signed a commitment for faster removal of dangerous products sold on their online marketplaces. The four major online companies have committed to responding to notifications on dangerous products from Member State authorities within 2 working days and take action on notices from customers within 5 working days. V?ra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, welcomed this decision that will improve consumer safety and called on other online marketplaces to join the initiative. These four major online marketplaces have agreed to a series of commitments to ensure EU consumers are well protected. The online marketplaces and the European Commission will assess the progress made on the commitments every six months, publishing a report. The full press release is available here. The Council of the EU agrees its negotiating stance on the Commission’s Proposal on Cross-border payments On 27 June, EU ambassadors agreed the Council’s negotiating stance on the Commission’s proposal to make cross-border payments in euros cheaper across the EU. They asked the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the Parliament is ready to negotiate. It was agreed that a euro transfer should never be subject to a disproportionately high fee, whether or not the consumer is based in the euro area. The Council endorsed the Commission’s proposal to align the charges for cross-border payments in euros for services such as credit transfers, card payments or cash withdrawals with the charges for corresponding national payments of the same value in the national currency of the Member State where the payment service provider of the payment service user is located. In addition, the proposal increases transparency requirements on the costs of currency conversion when such a service is offered before a payment transaction is carried out. Negotiations with the European Parliament will proceed as soon as the Parliament has agreed its stance. For more information, visit this link. The Council of the EU sets VAT minimum standard rate permanently at 15% On 22 June, the Council adopted a directive making the 15% minimum standard rate a permanent feature of a new VAT system. The minimum standard rate prevents excessive divergence in VAT rates in the member states. This eliminates the risk of distortions of competition through lower VAT rates that would have an impact on cross-border shopping and trade. More information is available here. New Deal for Consumers: Plenary adoption planned for 22 November On 20 July, MEP Daniel Dalton, the lead rapporteur of the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament, is expected to publish his draft report on one of the proposals of the New Deal for Consumers, which is modifying four main EU consumer directives. MEPs Pascal Arimont, Evelyne Gebhardt, Julia Reda and Marco Zullo have been appointed Shadow Rapporteurs. According to the new calendar, the IMCO Committee will discuss the report on 3 September and the deadline for tabling amendments is 18 September with the aim to adopt the legislation on 22 November, during the Plenary. Ecommerce Europe sent its position paper to the all relevant MEPs and has requested a meeting with them to further discuss Ecommerce Europe?s views on this important
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 19-06 to 25-06. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 27 June, Ecommerce Europe will meet with the Fiscal Attache of the Czech Republic Permanent Representation to the EU, Ms. Hana Stulajterova in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax. On 28 June, Ecommerce Europe will attend EuroCommerce Working Group on ePrivacy and New Deal for Consumers. The Working Group will discuss the state of play of the two proposals, the next steps and the lobbying strategy. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The IMCO Committee holds a public hearing with industry representatives on addressing unfair trading practices in B2B relations in the online environment On 19 June the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee held a public hearing with the members of the IMCO Committee, the European Commission and representatives from online platforms, the hotel industry and SMEs. Mr. Stengg, from the European Commission, briefly explained the proposed P2B Regulation and the main issues of friction between online platforms and their business users. Mr. Price (Google) expressed his concern with the proposed collective action process. Mr. Laurinkari (eBay) called for more flexibility to ensure platforms can efficiently run their business and to ensure the right balance between the needs of the consumers and the needs of businesses. Mr. Lochbihler (booking.com) said that there is a need to further clarify certain definitions in the proposal and that transparency requirements should apply to everyone who competes in the same field. Mr. de Barrin (HOTREC) gave three proposals for the improvement of the Regulation: ensuring that business owners can control their own brand, ensuring access to data of the guest and ensuring that the business user can control its own distribution. He also asked for an objective description of all types of sanctions and penalties applied to business users as well as for the Regulation to be revised every 2 years (not every 3 years as proposed). Ms. Bermejo (Spanish Association of start-ups and micro SMEs) warned that the scope of the Regulation was too wide, that it was hard for startups to constantly adapt to new legislation, that 15 days prior notice when terms and conditions change was too long and that Article 7 (point 2b) was not clear. The representative of Seznam expressed her opposition to the extension of the Regulation to search engines. Representative of Spotify warned that transparency alone doesn?t prevent unfairness and that the Regulation must include specific obligations not to engage in certain specific unfair practices. It should also include effective remedies to ensure compliance, she added. For the full video of the hearing please click on this link. The European Commission also reiterate that the Proposal should be adopted before the European elections next year. Legal Affairs Committee: rapporteurs report back on the state of negotiations with the Council of the EU on the issue of contracts for the supply of digital content On 20 June, the Rapporteurs of the Legal Affairs Committee, Mr. Voss and Ms. Gebhardt, reported back to the Committee on the state of negotiations with the Council of the EU on the issue of contracts for the supply of digital content. Mr. Voss stated there were two main points that remained open, causing a deadlock in the negotiations. The first one is the digital goods issue (or goods that combine software and hardware). The second one is the issue of harmonization in this area. The Council would like to see those software products included in the online trade provisions, but the European Parliament wants to ensure that goods with digital content are regulated in some way. Mr. Voss added that they had called upon on the Council to move forward on the Sales of Goods Directive so that some progress can be made by October to ensure that the Digital Contracts Proposals would not contradict each other The Parliament wants to ensure that all goods are covered, regardless of where they were bought (online or offline) and wants to see both packages negotiated in parallel. It asked the Council for suggestions to be tabled by October the latest, to wrap up on the file in February/March. Ms. Gebhardt warned that the Council had no position on the digital goods or on how these software-based goods would be incorporated. The Parliament wants embedded software included whereas some states openly oppose the Directive (e.g. Germany). She urged the Parliament not to give ground on this as it has already made concessions in other areas. She also said that it was unacceptable that there was no timetable for technical meetings or trialogues on these matters under the Austrian Presidency. The full video of the discussion is available here. The IMCO committee held a public hearing on illegal content removal in the digital single market On 19 June the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee held a public hearing with several experts and members of the IMCO committee on the topic of illegal content removal in the digital single market. The discussion was mainly focused on the legal framework and the imperfection of content filters and human review in determining what content should be taken down. It was stressed that we must ensure that legal content is not take down in the process. The participants did not discuss the topic of counterfeit goods sold online. The full video of the discussion is available here. Ecommerce Europe met DG Energy to discuss obligations of online marketplaces regarding energy labelling On Friday 25 June, Ecommerce Europe met with the European Commission?s DG Energy at their request to discuss the obligations of online marketplaces regarding energy labelling. Under the framework regulation on energy labelling, 2017/1369, ?dealers? of certain energy related products have an obligation to visibly display energy label and provide product information. According to the Commission, this obligation also applies to online marketplaces when they act purely as intermediaries. The Commission is now preparing delegated acts and wants to ensure that this interpretation prevails and that it is indisputable that online marketplaces have a material obligation to display energy label and product information and are liable for non-compliance. The Commission has time until mid-July to submit the legislative draft and plans to have the rules adopted by November. More information can be found on the Commission?s website on the products that are regulated through Energy Labelling, including the Energy Labelling FAQ, with explanations on page 34-35 indicating when the electronic label and product fiche are expected to be shown. We will provide members with a more detailed update on the intention of the European Commission on this matter shortly. The European Banking Authority opens its online Interactive Single Rulebook and Q&A tool to questions on PSD2 The EBA has updated its online Interactive Single Rulebook and Q&A tool to include PSD2. Users will now be able to submit questions on the application of the Directive and the work of the EBA. Through in Q&A tool, the EBA hopes to support a consistent application of the regulatory framework established by PSD2 and the RTS on SCA. Ecommerce Europe will assess if there is an opportunity for additional clarification from the European Banking Authority through this tool. Rapporteur Morten L?kkegaard reports back to the IMCO Committee on the Accessibility requirements for products and services On 18 June, the Rapporteur Morten L?kkegaard reported back to the IMCO committee on the Accessibility Act. His conclusions were that it was obvious that Member States were not ready to update their mandate. This means that the Council will most likely not be able to negotiate at the next trialogue scheduled for next Tuesday (26 June), which is a critical setback for the negotiations considering the aim was to reach an agreement during the Bulgarian presidency. On enforcement and complaint mechanism, it was agreed to drop the database under the conditions that the registers and complaint mechanism are kept, while referring to existing mechanisms under the alternative dispute resolution. On emergency services, although the European Parliament made a written proposal, the Council showed up at the trialogue with empty hands, so progress couldn?t be made. The issue of self-service terminals also remains open to further clarifications and discussions. Regarding transport, tourism, other union ex. micro enterprises, CE marking and the built environment ? although the discussion was on a right and constructive path, there is still a long way to go unless the Council comes back with an updated mandate. Lastly, the rapporteur concluded that he was very reluctant to have a fifth trialogue if the Council shows no flexibility on any item. MEP Sehnalova expressed her disappointment with the failure of the negotiations and said this was a very significant act which should be brought to life as soon as practicable. The full discussion is available here.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 12-06 to 18-06. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 20 June, the first Händlerbund – Ecommerce Europe Workshop on Digital Taxation and VAT will kick-off in Berlin. Members and experts will discuss the plans of the European Union with regards to the recent proposals on the Taxation of the Digital Economy and understanding how to implement the EU VAT E-commerce Reform adopted in December 2017. On 20 June, Ecommerce Europe will attend the GSMA Mobile Meetings Series entitled ?Enhancing Fairness in Platform-to-Business Relations?. The event will bring together around 20 high-level representatives from the EU institutions, industry and other stakeholders with the aim to explore if the Regulation proposed by the Commission represents what the sector really needs in terms of a regulatory framework and how it will shape the future of the Digital Single Market. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: Busy week ahead in the EU Parliament: accessibility, illegal content online, platforms, digital content on the agenda The European Parliament will be discussing important e-commerce related files this week. On 18 June, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) will discuss about the European Accessibility Act: the Rapporteur for this dossier, MEP Morten L?kkegaard, will report back to the Committee on the ongoing interinstitutional negotiations on the proposed Directive. On 19 June, the IMCO Committee will hold two hearings. The first one will focus on the EU?s horizontal regulatory framework for the removal of illegal content in the Digital Single Market: representatives from platforms, international organisations, academia and national authorities will discuss with MEPs the existing EU horizontal legal framework for tackling illegal content online, the different approaches by Member States and voluntary best practices developed by platforms (click here for more information and the draft program). The second hearing will focus on addressing unfair trading practices in B2B (or Platform-to-Business) relations in the online environment: MEPs will discuss with experts, stakeholders and policy makers how to address the emergence of unfair practices in platform to business relationships, bearing in mind the increasingly important role of online platforms as vehicles for market access. They will also explore any problems that may arise in terms of lack of redress and more broadly the risk of fragmentation in the internal market (click here for more information and the draft program). The full agenda of the IMCO Committee is available here and the meetings can be followed live via this link. Finally, on 20 June, the Rapporteurs of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will report back to the Committee on the ongoing interinstitutional negotiations on the proposed Digital Content Directive. Ecommerce Europe will closely follow the discussions and report back to the members in due time. The EBA published its opinion on the implementation of the RTS on SCA On 13 June, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published an Opinion on the implementation of the Regulatory Technical Standards on Strong Customer Authentication (RTS on SCA). This opinion aims at clarifying certain aspects of the standards and answering the numerous questions the EBA received from market participants and is primally addressed to National competent authorities. It covers the main requirements for the dedicated interfaces and application programming interface, the application of the SCA, the different exemptions to strong authentication as well as the methods that can be used to authenticate. The EBA will also continue to provide clarifications using the EBA?s Single Rulebook question and answer (Q&A) tool, which will be extended to PSD2 by the end of June 2018. The RTS on SCA will be legally applicable from 14 September 2019. Ecommerce Europe is finalizing an updated position paper to support and coordinate lobbying efforts at national level. Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU publishes its official program The Austrian Federal Government has recently presented in Brussels the program for the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which will start on 1 July and last until 31 December 2018. On the issue of digitalization and competitiveness, the Austrian Presidency aims at continuing the EU?s work on the taxation of the digital economy in order to ensure that profits are taxed in the country in which they are generated, while avoiding overregulation. The Presidency aims to take strong and unequivocal positions vis-?-vis international partners, especially when it comes to taxation of the digital economy. The Austrian Presidency will attach particular importance to this issue in a bid to advance the negotiations and to outline potential solutions in light of the developments at G-20, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and EU level. Work on the European Commission?s proposal for the introduction of a common corporate tax base will continue as well. In the field of indirect taxation, the Presidency plans to achieve progress on the numerous European Commission proposals for modernizing VAT. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and scale-ups are to take center stage during the Austrian Presidency, with an environment offering legal certainty while at the same time promoting growth and innovation to help them become more competitive. A particular focus will be on finalizing the platform-to-business trading (P2B) dossier. Austria will also continue constructive negotiations on the Single Market Program, the goods, services and compliance packages as well as on the ?New Deal for Consumers? package. Ecommerce Europe invited to discuss energy labeling issues on platforms The European Commission has invited Ecommerce Europe to engage with them on the issue of energy labeling on the internet and, in particular, the role of ?hosting? platforms. Due to a Swedish Court on the responsibility of such platforms in showing the energy label on the internet as per the applicable rules, the Commission is looking into the existing rules to see if there is room to further clarify then and avoid any ambiguity about who is responsible for what in this context. The meeting will take place on Friday 22 June and we will report back to the members with more information regarding this matter HM Revenue & Customs survey for businesses trading in online retail The HM Revenue & Customs department of the Government of the United Kingdom launched a short online survey about businesses experiences trading in online retail. Members of Ecommerce Europe are invited to fill in the survey which can be found here. The deadline for filling the survey in is Friday, 22 June 2018.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 05-06 to 11-06. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 11 June, Ecommerce Europe will attend the ADR Assembly 2018. The event will bring together representatives of notified European ADR entities, ADR competent authorities, ODR contact points, European Consumer Centres, consumer organisations, business associations and other stakeholders. It will provide a forum to exchange best practice, network and discuss questions around the effective provision of alternative and online dispute resolution. On 14 June, Ecommerce Europe will meet with Mr. Sami Koskinen, Financial Attache of the Permanent Represention of Finland to the EU and with Ms. Hana Stulajterova, Financial Attache of the Permanent Representation of Czech Republic to the EU in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The administrator of a fan page is jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of data of visitors to the page, according to the EU Court of Justice On 5 June, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that administrators of Facebook fan pages are jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of data of visitors to the page. Administrators of fan pages can obtain anonymous statistical data on visitors to the fan pages via a function called ?Facebook Insights?. This data is collected by means of evidence files (?cookies?), each containing a unique user code, which are stored by Facebook on the device of visitors to the fan page. An administrator takes part in the determination of the purposes and means of processing the personal data of the visitors to its fan page since they can ask for data in anonymized form concerning its target audience and thereby request the processing of that data. Therefore, the administrator must be regarded as a controller jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of data. According to the Court, the fact that an administrator of a fan page, such as an online merchant, uses the platform provided by Facebook in order to benefit from the associated services (i.e. promotion of products, tailored offers) cannot exempt it from compliance with its obligations concerning the protection of personal data. Therefore, this Court decision has implications also for merchants who must comply with data protection rules not only on their websites but also on their social media accounts. The full court ruling can be found here whereas the summary of the ruling can be found here. No agreement on ePrivacy Regulation under the Bulgarian Presidency, TTE Council concludes The Telecommunications Council, held on 8 June, concluded that an agreement on ePrivacy Regulation will not be reached under the Bulgarian Presidency as wished by the Commission. The Bulgarian Presidency declared that more work under their and the upcoming Austrian Presidency is necessary. The Presidency asked the Member States? Representatives to give their opinions on three questions: acceptability of the proposal on metadata processing, acceptability of articles 8 and 10 as well as their opinion on the proposal?s balance between ensuring competitiveness of European businesses and safeguarding of privacy at the same time. The vast majority of Member States declared that the text required more work in all points raised by the Bulgarian Presidency, including the UK, France, Germany and Italy which made detailed proposals. Luxembourg went the furthest by saying that GDPR deals sufficiently with article 8. All Member States gave their opinion, except for Spain. HM Revenue & Customs survey for businesses trading in online retail The HM Revenue & Customs department of the Government of the United Kingdom launched a short online survey about businesses experiences trading in online retail. Members of Ecommerce Europe are invited to fill in the survey which can be found here. The deadline for filling the survey in is Friday, 22 June 2018. Justice and Home Affairs Council holds a policy debate on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods On 4 June 2018, the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers debated the Sales of Goods Directive. The Bulgarian Presidency stated that one of the main issues was related to the Digital Content Directive. The 3 issues for the discussion were: the possibility of having one set of rules to apply to all kind of goods including smart goods (those with embedded digital content), an issue of key importance for the EP (which wanted to apply a split approach); the suitability of remedies; and the length of the guarantee. The Member States welcomed the inclusion of smart goods in the Directive. At the same time, many were concerned that the level of consumer protection will be diminished with only a 2-year guarantee period. Commissioner Vera Jourova declared that the directive is crucial for the completion of the Digital Single Market. Denmark, Finland and Sweden call for a global solution for the taxation of the digital economy Finance Ministers of the three Nordic countries published their opinion on the Digital Services Tax proposed by the European Commission, which is basically in line with the position of Ecommerce Europe. While agreeing that everyone needs to pay their taxes and that a level playing field must be ensured, the ministers expressed their concern regarding the Commission?s interim proposal. They believe the proposal deviates form international principles when it comes to taxing rights of countries based on where the value is created. Furthermore, in their opinion, taxation of gross income deviates from fundamental principles of income taxation. They also expressed concern about enforcement of such tax and possible retaliation from non-EU countries. The ministers highlighted the need to ensure favorable climate for businesses and competitiveness of the EU economy. Therefore, they agree that a global OECD solution should be pursued instead. The full opinion is available here. Citizens’ Dialogue on the New Deal for Consumers takes place in Copenhagen and Helsinki The third and fourth Citizens’ Dialogue on the New Deal for Consumers took place in Copenhagen and Helsinki respectively. The event is jointly organised by the Commission and state authorities as a way to listen to the views and concerns of citizens in regards to the new proposed legislation. During the event in Copenhagen, Jakob Hald, Director General of the Competition and Consumer Authority, said that the goal was not to weaken consumer protection but to modernize it. One of the most sensitive issues revolved around who had the right to represent consumers in cases of mass harm. Finish Employment Minister Jari Lindstrom pointed out that The New Deal is not just about consumers but also about the health of the economy, because it increases consumer?s trust towards the markets. Finland’s Justice Minister, Antti Häkkänen, while supporting the Commission’s efforts, pointed out that consumer law needs to be simplified. For full press release of the events please visit this (Copenhagen) and this (Helsinki) link. Next meeting of the GDPR Multi-stakeholder Group postponed to September 2018 The European Commission?s DG Justice announced that the next meeting of the Consultation Group on the application of GDPR, of which Ecommerce Europe is a member, will be postponed to 18 September 2018 instead of 22 June. The main reason for this is the fact that, following the entry into application of the GDPR on 25 May, several Member States are still in the process of adopting their national legislation. Therefore, the Commission believes that a more fruitful discussion can be yielded after the summer. The agenda will follow in due time.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 23-05 to 28-05. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 29 May, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend the European Justice Forum Business & Expert Roundtable. The discussion will focus on an exchange of information on the proposal on representative action. Collective redress will be part of the discussion as well. On 29, Communications Officer Laura Contin will attend a CEPS event on: AI and Cybersecurity: Friends or foes? The discussion will revolve around the following question: What are the implications of current and future use of machine learning for cybersecurity and how is AI transforming information security? On 1 June, Public Affairs Advisor on e-Payments Juliette Beaulaton will attend a policy debate on ?Let?s make big tech accountable?. The discussion will focus on how the tech sector, policy-makers and citizens can work together to find solutions to make tech companies more accountable and transparent. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: EU Ministers discuss Platform Regulation and New Deal for Consumers at the Competitiveness Council Today, EU Ministers are gathering for a meeting of the Competitiveness Council. The Regulation on platforms to business relations was discussed this morning, and ministers generally expressed their support for the proposal. Austria ? that will hold the next Presidency of the Council as of July 2018 ? declared its intention to reach a general approach on the file in November of this year. This was echoed by Vice-President Andrus Ansip that declared wanting to close the file before the end of the Commission?s mandate in mid-2019. This afternoon, Ministers will continue to discuss on topics including the state of play of the Digital Single Market and the New Deal for Consumers. A more detailed update will follow in due time. Ecommerce Europe is preparing two position papers, based on the discussions we had in the e-Regulations Working Committee. The Bulgarian Presidency published guidance documents on the Sales of Goods proposals On 24 May, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council published a guidance for the policy debate on the Sales of goods proposal that will be held on 4 and 5 June. The document highlights the main policy questions on which delegations should provide additional political guidance. The Presidency insists particularly on the need to ensure consistence between this proposal and the proposal on Digital Content. Delegations will be invited to prepare to answer questions on a single set of rules for all consumer goods, remedies, and the level harmonization and time limits. The Council published an updated Bulgarian Presidency digital taxation roadmap On 23 May, the Bulgarian Presidency published an updated digital taxation roadmap based on comments of delegations at the meeting of the High Level Working Party (Taxation) on 16 May 2018. The Presidency will be giving priority to the two files in the coming months in the Council and preparatory bodies. The Presidency intends to carry out a first round of detailed technical analysis of the Digital services tax directive (DSTD) legislative proposal at the Working Party on Tax Questions by June 2018. As for the Proposal for a Council Directive laying down rules relating to the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence („SDPD”), the Council believes that by June 2018 initial technical analysis of this proposal will be completed at Working Party on Tax Questions level as well. The Bulgarian Presidency has started the initial technical examination of both DSTD and PSPD. The General Data Protection Regulation entered into application On 25 May, the General Data Protection Regulation became effective, creating one set of data protection rules for all companies operating in the EU. The European Commission has now shifted its focus on the implementation phase by actively supporting Member States. The Commission will organize an event to take stock of different stakeholders’ experiences of implementing the Regulation in 2019. This will feed into the report the Commission is required to produce by May 2020 on the evaluation and review of the Regulation. For more information on the Regulation, you can consult the Commission?s guidance and official website.
Dear Member of Ecommerce Europe, For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 15-05 to 22-05. Please note that yesterday, 21 May, it was a public holiday in Belgium. This is why the weekly policy update is exeptionally released on Tuesday this week. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 23 May, the Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will meet with Mr Jorge Gerraras Gutierrez, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, and with Mr André Conde Morais, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax. On 25 May, Ecommerce Europe will attend the event on the entry into application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), hosted by the European Commission. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views on Tackling Illegal Content Online On 16 May the EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views with the European Commission on the Recommendation on tackling illegal content online. Irene Roche Laguna from the European Commission stressed that the Recommendation reflected the political need to act against terrorist content. She said that the Commission was monitoring the situation with regard to the self-regulatory measures by platforms and that cooperation between member states and platforms on sharing best practices was ongoing. MEP Dita Charanzova stressed that in her opinion, a Regulation on notice-and-action was necessary to avoid fragmentation even before the 6 months review by the Commission. MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt added that the legal framework created by the E-commerce Directive was no longer enough, but that she supported the Commission?s line on self-regulation if it produces results. MEP Julia Reda highlighted the risks of deleting legal content without authorities being informed, and also questioned the need for new measures considering there was already a Directive on terrorism that had not been fully implemented. The Commission stressed that more transparency was needed regarding the use of filter, and added that it was still exploring the necessity of a horizontal measure on notice-and-takedown. Ecommerce Europe is currently drafting a response to the online consultation on fighting against illegal content online that will run until 25 June. The EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views on Promoting fairness and transparency for users of online intermediation services On 17 May the EP IMCO Committee members exchanged views with the European Commission on its proposal for Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for users of online intermediation services. The EP IMCO Committee will be the lead Committee on the Proposal. The Commission highlighted the main aspects of the Proposal and insisted on the need for a Regulation that would restore a level playing field with clear and transparent rules without interfering with the business model of the platform. MEP Charanzova (ALDE) expressed her concern about this Regulation being an unnecessary burden on SMEs and startups and added that she was not in favor of an ex ante control if market forces and competition law could solve most of the issues raised by the Commission. Her view is that too much transparency could be harmful to both consumers and businesses. The Commission replied that the administrative burdens were limited and that neither the market nor competition law could solve the problems identified by the Commission. It also added that it hoped for an adoption before May 2019. The Council of the EU published a Presidency discussion paper on the platforms-to-business regulation On 15 May, the General Secretariat of the Council published a Presidency discussion paper on the Platforms-to-business relations. The document aims at presenting the proposal to National delegations ahead of the policy debate that will take place during the Competitiveness Council on 28 May. It summarizes the Commission?s proposal and presents what it qualifies as the ?two-step approach? consisting first in the proposed Regulation – that will ensure enhanced transparency and redress obligations – and followed by an in-depth monitoring effort that will contribute evidence to the review of the proposed Regulation three years after its adoption. The Secretariat asks Delegations to prepare for the upcoming Council by giving their opinion on the need to improve predictability and transparency and on the two-step approach. The discussions on the Digital Content Directive continue in trilogue On 16 May, the EP IMCO Committee held a meeting on the Directive on contracts for the supply of digital content. The Rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt reported back to the Committee on the progress made during the trilogue and stated that an agreement had been reached with the Council regarding updates, the definition of prices, the termination of the contract and the implementation deadline that will be of 2 years and 3 months. While the Delegations continue to make progress, several issue remain open, such as the right to compensation (Article 14); IoT/software included in products ? where the European Parliament stands firm on its position that software in goods is the same as embedded content; and the level of harmonization, where the Council could consider targeted harmonization. The next trilogue will take place on 18 June. Commission?s Vice-President Andrus Ansip exchanged views with the EP IMCO Committee on the Digital Single Market During an exchange of views with the EP IMCO Committee, Vice-President Ansip discussed the Digital Single Market Strategy, Online Platforms and Artificial Intelligence. He stressed that out of the 29 Digital Single Market proposals, only 12 had been completed so far and that progress was unequal depending on the files. MEP Andreas Schwab stressed that he believed there was still a lot to be done on the Commission?s sector inquiry into e-commerce. MEP Nicola Danti also inquired about a possible re-opening of the eCommerce Directive. Andrus Ansip answered that platforms were already liable that it was easy to ?kill platforms with over-regulation?. Overall the business-to-platform proposal was well received, but MEPs insisted on the need to ensure European companies were capable of growing. The European Commission publishes the result of a screening on misleading practices by website selling telecoms services On 18 May, the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published the results of an EU-wide screening of 207 websites offering fixed/mobile phone, internet, audio and video streaming services. The screening reveals that 163 of these websites could be infringing EU consumer law. Some of the most common issues identified are the advertisement of allegedly free or discounted packages that are in fact a bundled offer, the lack of a dispute resolution system, or the fact that these websites can unilaterally change the terms of the contract without information or justification to the consumer. For more information, you can consult the Q&A and the result of the screening. The EP ITRE Committee adopted a non-binding resolution on Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains On 16 May, the EP ITRE Committee adopted a non-binding resolutions calling for the application of blockchain to cut intermediation costs for small firm and ensure that transactions are executed efficiently. The resolution call on the EU Commission to propose a regulatory approach designed to promote different uses of blockchains and other Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) that is innovation-friendly and technology neutral. You can consult the press release for more information.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 08-05 to 14-05. Please note that last week, the European institutions were closed for holiday, therefore no new initiatives nor relevant legislative developments have been registered. This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings: On 16 May, Ecommerce Europe will attend the EuroCommerce?s Payment System Committee to discuss ongoing legislative developments, including PSD2 and the review of the Interchange Fee Regulation; On 17 May, the Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will meet with Ms Edita Sainickaite, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU, in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax. Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: Ecommerce Europe will launch its first joint Workshop with Händlerbund on Digital Taxation and VAT in Berlin On 20 June, Ecommerce Europe and Händlerbund are organizing a workshop to discuss the plans of the European Union with regard to the taxation of the digital economy and the implementation of the VAT E-commerce Reform adopted in December 2017 by the EU Member States. This workshop is an occasion for participants to ask questions, exchange views and hear from European experts about the practical consequences that the adopted and upcoming EU legislation in the taxation area may have on the daily business of online merchants. This event will be the first of a series of workshops co-organized by Ecommerce Europe and national associations. Updated translations of the General Data Protection Regulation have been published A corrigendum of the official translations of the General Data Protection Regulation has also been published to address several mistakes in all EU languages. While the Corrigendum mostly addresses typos and clerical errors, some mistakes might affect the meaning of certain provisions. We therefore advise you to consult the applicable language version for you jurisdiction and not only the English version. For an overview of some correction made to the text, you can consult this article from IAPP. Ecommerce Europe to meet with Member States representatives on the Digital Tax In the past days, we have been setting up meetings with the Member States? Permanent Representations to the EU in charge of negotiating the two proposals on the taxation of the digital economy. The aim will be to present the position and the concerns of the e-commerce sector specifically with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax, which is the short term temporary solution proposed by the European Commission. We will provide members with reports of the meetings we will have with the representatives of the EU Members States.
Dear Members of Ecommerce Europe, For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 17-04 to 23-04. Tomorrow 24 April, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend an event organized by FEDMA in the Europen Parliament on the Privacy and the Digital Single Market. On 25 April, Public Affairs Advisor Juliette Beaulaton will attend the second edition of the BeCommerce B2B Summit. The BeCommerce B2B Summit is the event for Belgian and European e-commerce executives with a strong interest in innovative B2B online commerce and Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, this week Ecommerce Europe will continue working on some follow-up activities related to the last Working Committees held on 12-13 April in Milan. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The European Commission publishes a Communication on the future of the retail sector On 19 April, the European Commission published a new Communication on a ?European Retail Sector fit for the 21st Century?. The Communication lays down best practices for Member States and operators to ensure that the retail sector adapts to the new challenges. The Communication provides best practices to address restrictions in retail affecting market performance, facilitate retail establishment and reduce operational restriction. The document insists particularly on the influence of the development of e-commerce on retail, for example in terms of consumer shopping habits, and on the need to ensure a level playing field between brick and mortar retail and e-commerce to ensure the growth of the retail sector. The Communication also identifies the increasingly blurry boundaries between offline and online. For more information, you can consult the Q&A and the Communication. We will further analyze the implications of this new communication and will provide a more detailed update. The European Commission organizes seminars on Fair Taxation in Member States On 19 April, the European Commission launched a series of 5 Seminars on Fair Taxation that will take place in different Member states during the summer to discuss the work of the institution on tax abuse, tax avoidance, but also the new Commission?s proposal on the fair taxation of the digital economy. The next seminar will take place in Vienna, Austria, on 17 May. For more information, you can consult DG TAXUD?s website. MEPs highlights the challenges created by digital companies in Competition Policy On 19 April, the European Parliament adopted its Annual Report on Competition Policy. The report highlights that digital companies constitute specific challenges for competition and fiscal authorities and Members of the European Parliament express their concerns over the use of personal data by tech companies for marketing and super profiling purpose and call for additional resources for the Directorate General for Competition. MEPs also call for a tax on digital companies on the basis of their genuine activity in Member States and to step up efforts to ensure fair competition in the digital sphere. The IMCO Committee of the EU Parliament will discuss important e-commerce related files Today and tomorrow, the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament will discuss important files related to e-commerce. The Members of the EU Parliament will have an exchange of views with Commissioner Věra Jourová, who will present her views on the latest developments on the two digital contracts proposals (digital content and goods) now under negotiation. Furthermore, she will present the New Deal for Consumers package, which contains two legislative proposals: one horizontal proposal amending four existing acts in the field of consumer and marketing law, and one proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, repealing the Injunctions Directive. There will also be a first exchange of views with MEP Julia Reda on the topic of ?tackling illegal content online?. A more detailed report will follow after the 2-day IMCO meeting. Update on interinstitutional negotiations on the Accessibility Act After the first exploratory trialogue on 5 March 2018, the second round of negotiations on 12 April allowed the three institutions to tackle certain issues of the proposed Directive in more depth, namely: standards and common technical specifications (Articles 13 and 14); fundamental alteration and disproportionate burden (Article 12 and Council?s Annex IV); the structure and overall approach of Annex I as well as the Council?s suggested new Annex Ia. The positions of the co-legislators on all three points were found to be converging and further work was delegated to technical level to finalize the corresponding text. The third trialogue meeting is scheduled for 15 May 2018.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 10-04 to 16-04. On 19 April, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will be a speaker at the E-Commerce Week 2018, organized by UNCTAD in Geneve. Under the theme ?Development Dimensions of Digital Platforms?, the E-Commerce Week 2018 will explore the growing role of digital platforms and concrete steps to harnessing these evolving technologies for sustainable development. Furthermore, on 20 April, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend EuroCommerce Working Group to discuss the New Deal For Consumers. Furthermore, this week the Brussels team will follow up on last week’s Working Committee meetings held during the Members Days 2018 in Milan. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The European Commission published its ?New Deal for Consumers? Package On 11 April, the European Commission proposed its Package on ?a New Deal for Consumers?, composed of two proposals for Directives and a Communication. The first proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers repeals the Injunctions Directive and aims at improving tools for stopping illegal practices and facilitating redress for consumers where there are widespread infringements of their rights. The second proposal amends EU Consumer Law (in particular four existing directives: the Directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts, the Directive on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers, the Directive concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices and the Directive on consumer rights) and aims at improving the enforcement and modernizing EU consumer legislation in light of market developments, in particular the digital economy, as well as amending EU rules on penalties. The two proposals are accompanied by a Communication on the New Deal for Consumers. For more information, the European Commission published a series of factsheet explaining the changes these proposals will bring for consumers and businesses as well as a Q&A. Ecommerce Europe published a Press release, and is currently drafting a comprehensive position paper on the Package. The Council of the EU adopted the Parcel Delivery Regulation On 12 April, the Council of the EU adopted the provisional agreement reached on the Regulation on Cross-border Parcel Delivery with the European Parliament last December. The vote concludes the legislative procedure as the European Parliament adopted the text on 13 March. The regulation will be signed by both institutions and published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication and apply as of 2019. The Article 29 Working Party published its revised guidelines on Transparency On 11 April, the Article 29 Working Party published its final Guidelines on transparency under the General Data Protection Regulation. The document is meant as a guidance on the new obligation of transparency concerning the processing of personal data under the GDPR. We are currently assessing the changes made by the WP29 compared to the previous version of the Guidelines and we will get back to you with a more detailed analysis. The Presidency of the Council published a revised text for the ePrivacy Regulation Ahead of the Working Party TELE of 19 April, the Bulgarian presidency of the Council published a new revised text of the ePrivacy Regulation. The Presidency has amended the text to first clarify the link with GDPR. It has also proposed to modify Article 6 to allow processing for purposes of network management and optimization and added new basis for processing for the purpose of statistical counting. The Presidency has also proposed amendments to clarify Article 8 and the protection of end-user?s terminal equipment information. In regards to Article 10 and Privacy settings, the Presidency has proposed to link the information on the settings to ?every update?, rather than the unclear provision on ?periodic interval? from the previous version. On direct marketing, the Presidency maintained its previous changes, proposing to leave Member States to decide, if they so wish, what is the appropriate time limit for using customers’ contact details for direct marketing. We will prepare a more detailed update on the amended proposal. Ecommerce Europe held successful Working Committee Meetings and Board meetings in Milan On 12 and 13 April, Ecommerce Europe travelled to Milan for its Working Committee meetings and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings. On Thursday 12 April, the Board approved the appointment of two new members, Ms. Lorraine Higgins, CEO of Retail Excellence, and Mr. Janne Koivisto, Senior Advisor of the Finnish Commerce Federation, and the Brussels Team of Ecommerce Europe presented their plans for 2018. The Board of Directors was followed by the meeting of the e-Regulations Working Committee, where members discussed the Commission?s Digital Tax, the package for A New Deal for Consumers and questions related to data protection and e-Privacy. The next morning, members gathered for the Trustmark Working Committee meeting. In the afternoon, members were presented the new format of the e-Payments Working Committee, that will now extend its scope to Fintech and Artificial Intelligence and become the Digital Transactions & Innovation Working Committee.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 04-04 to 09-04. Tomorrow, Ecommerce Europe will attend the Digital Days 2018, an initiative organized by the European Commission, that brings together ministers, representatives of EU countries, industry, academia and civil society representatives in order to encourage cooperation in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and innovation. Furthermore, from 11-13 April, the Brussels team will be in Milan for the Members Days 2018, this year kindly hosted by our Italian association Consorzio Netcomm. During the Members Days, Working Committees will be held as well. The Brussels team will update members on the latest legislative developments on e-Regulations and e-Payments, as welll as on the European Ecommerce Trustmark. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The European Commission is gathering data on the Implementation of the Interchange Fee Regulation The European Commission will publish an Implementation report on the Interchange Fee regulation in September 2019. The Commission?s investigation aims at assessing the consequences of the implementation of the regulation on stakeholders, including merchants and online merchants. It will explore data on increases/decreases in total fees paid by merchants (excluding commercial cards); overall transaction costs for debit, credit & commercial cards; identification and quantification of newly introduced acquiring fees, etc. EuroCommerce is currently gathering views through its Survey on the Interchange Fee Regulation. The results will be instrumental in providing the Commission precise inputs on merchants? experience with the Regulation. We therefore invite you to share the online survey with your members and ask them to participate. The current deadline for the EuroCommerce Survey is 20 April 2018. Eurostat published the results of its study on e-Commerce Eurostat published the result of its survey on the Digital Economy & Society in the EU. The chapter on e-commerce focuses both on people ordering goods and services online and businesses selling electronically. Eurostat concluded from its survey that e-shopping was on the rise in all age group but most notably for younger internet users. Eurostat also found out that the majority of e-shoppers (69 %) in the EU had not experienced any problems when ordering or buying online during the year prior to the 2017 survey. Those who identified problems mentioned delay in delivery and websites crashing. The European Commission published a Policy brief on the Coty Judgement The European Commission published a Competition Policy brief on EU competition rules and marketplace after the Coty Judgement (06/12/2017). The aim of this policy brief is to follow-up on the Report in relation to marketplace bans and to provide stakeholders with the view of DG Competition in the light of the Coty judgment. The Commission summarized the decision of the European Court of Justice, which held that marketplace restrictions taking the form of selective distribution systems could comply with EU Competition rules under certain criteria clarified in the judgement. The Commission added that it agreed and welcomed the interpretation of the ECJ, and that in DG Competition’s view, marketplace bans did not amount to a hardcore restriction. Ecommerce Europe goes to Milan for its Members Days and Working Committees meetings On 12 and 13 April, Ecommerce Europe will be organizing its Working Committees in Milan to discuss ongoing and upcoming regulatory developments in the EU. The e-Regulations Working Committee will cover a broad range of pressing issues, including the new Commission?s proposal on the taxation of the digital economy, as well as the upcoming package ?New Deal for Consumers? and the Proposal on online intermediation services and search engines. During the e-Payments Working Committee, members will discuss the implementation status of the Payment Services Directive, the new Fintech Action Plans and the Commission?s plans on Artificial Intelligence.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 26-03 to 03-04. Please note that this week, the weekly policy update is exeptionally issued on Tuesday due to the Easter break. This week, the Brussels team is active in the finalization of the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan next week, from 11-13 April. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: A draft of the Proposal for a Directive on collective redress was leaked in the press The Draft Proposal is part of the upcoming package New Deal for Consumers. It aims at modernizing and replacing the current Injunctions Directive, by creating new rules on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. We are currently analyzing the leaked draft and we will prepare a more detailed update on the content of the Proposal. The Council continues its negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation On 28 March, the Working Party TELE discussed the Presidency?s revised proposal for the ePrivacy Regulation. In its last Discussion Paper, the Presidency proposed amendments to Article 8 (Protection of end-users terminal equipment information), Article 10 (Privacy settings) and Article 16 (direct marketing communication). Considering the importance of those articles for the e-commerce sector, Ecommerce Europe requested a meeting with the Bulgarian Presidency to further discuss our views. However, considering their lack of availabilities, they could not grant us a face-to-face meeting. During the upcoming e-Regulations Working Committee that will take place on 12 April, members will discuss the position of the association in light of the new amendments on the above-mentioned articles. The Brussels Team will then prepare a new position paper to be sent out to all Permanent Representations in view of future negotiations. Trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive are moving forward On 27 March, the Rapporteur for the Digital Content Directive MEP Evelyne Gebhardt reported back to the EP JURI Committee on the progress made during trialogues. She stated that negotiations had gone well, and that progress had been made on the question of updates and on the protection of data. The issues of the inclusion of embedded digital content in the scope and the level of harmonization are still open for discussion. Despite the differences of opinion on these two topics, the Rapporteur believes that an agreement could be reached before the end of the Bulgarian Presidency, which means before the end of June 2018. Ecommerce Europe sent its feedback on the Inception Impact Assessment on Illegal content online On Friday 30 March, Ecommerce Europe sent its feedback on the European Commission?s Inception Impact Assessment on illegal content online. EU Commission launched ?Consumer Law Ready? program for SMEs The European Commission has recently launched a portal, called ?Consumer Law Ready?, which is a specialist training program for people in SMEs. It is supposed to help SMEs understand and comply with the latest EU Consumer Laws. There are dedicated Consumer Law Ready portals for every country in the European Union. The training enables to gain knowledge of the important aspects of Consumer Law, which will help improving customer service and increase consumer trust. The portal is accessible at: https://www.consumerlawready.eu/. We invite you to share this link with your company members. Trialogues on the Accessibility Act The first trialogue meeting on the Accessibility Act was held on 5 March. While reporting back to the EP IMCO Committee, the Rapporteur on the file – MEP L?kkegaard – stated that the Council and the European Parliament outlined their position on key issues, such as the scope, accessibility requirements, operating systems and self-service terminals, as well as the exception for microenterprises. At a recent event on accessibility, a representative from the European Commission stressed that the three institutions have not the same position on the scope of directive. The next trialogue meeting will take place on 12 April. Regulation on Portability of online content now applicable in all EU As of 1 April 2018, the Regulation on the Portability of online content is applicable in all EU Member States. This Regulation aimed at ensure that Europeans can access content that they bought or subscribed to – such as films, e-book, music – when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country. Ecommerce Europe was not involved with this Regulation as it was not a priority for our members. However, you can find more information in the European Commission?s factsheet.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 20-03 to 26-03. Tomorrow 26 March, Ecommerce Europe will attend the API Evaluation Group. The group aims at evaluating standardized API specifications in order to help ensure that those standards are compliant with the requirements of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and meet the needs of all market participants. Furthermore, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend the Amazon Academy event. This time, the meeting will focus on accessibility and in particular on the latest accessibility innovation for customers. On 29 March, Ecommerce Europe will welcome a delegation from Morocco for an informal discussion on the European legislation in the e-commerce sector and the role of the association in elaborating public affairs strategies to stimulate regional and cross-border e-commerce. Finally, the Brussels team will continue the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The European Commission published two proposals on the taxation of digital business activities in the EU On 21 March, the European Commission published two proposals for new rules for the taxation of digital business activities in the EU. The first proposed Directive aims to reform corporate tax rules so that profits are registered and taxed where businesses have significant interaction with users through digital channels. This forms the Commission’s preferred long-term solution, while the second proposal responds to calls from several Member States for an ?interim tax? which covers the main digital activities that currently escape tax altogether in the EU. The legislative proposals will be submitted to the Council of the EU for adoption (unanimity is needed) and to the European Parliament for consultation. The EU will also continue to actively contribute to the global discussions on digital taxation within the G20/OECD, and push for ambitious international solutions. Ecommerce Europe sent a letter to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to share our preliminary opinion on 5 March. EU Commissioner Moscovici replied to our letter on the Digital Services Tax Last Friday afternoon, one day after the publication of the European Commission?s proposals, Ecommerce Europe received a letter from Pierre Moscovici – the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs – in reply to the letter that we sent to the President of the Commission. In the letter, it is clearly mentioned that any discussion about the specific content of the proposals can only take place once such legislative acts have been adopted (which happened on 21 March), and that is why our concerns are not specifically addressed by the Commissioner. Nevertheless, the letter clearly shows that the Commission?s intention to work with us on this project. Ecommerce Europe is currently analyzing the content of both proposals, which will be presented at the next meeting of the e-Regulations Working Committee on 12 April in Milan. The New Deal for Consumers Package has leaked One of the proposals of the upcoming New Deal for Consumers Package has leaked. The draft directiveconcerns the targeted amendments the Commission wishes to propose to modify the Consumer Rights Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the Price Indication Directive. The proposal aims at creating more effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for widespread cross-border infringements, by allowing national authorities to impose fine of at least 4% of the trader?s turnover for widespread infringements. It also envisages that consumers should have the right to individual remedies. The proposal aims at bringing more transparency for consumers in online marketplaces, by creating additional information requirements, including information about the criteria for ranking, the entity with which the contract is concluded as well whether consumer protection legislation applies. As expected, the proposal also removes two specific obligations regarding the right of withdrawal: the obligation to accept this right even where a consumer has made actual use of an ordered good and reimbursing before receiving. A new point has been added compared to what was previously announced by the European Commission, concerning the extension of the Consumer Rights Directive to digital services for which consumers provide personal data instead of paying with money. The Commission considers that consumers should have the same rights to pre-contractual information and to cancel within 14 days right of withdrawal period. The Bulgarian Presidency published a new discussion paper on the ePrivacy Regulation Ahead of the Working Party TELE meeting on 28 March, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council published a new Presidency discussion paper which includes a revised text of the ePrivacy proposal, focusing on Article 8,10, 15 and 16 and related recitals. The Presidency is also seeking comments article 18 to 29 to pursue the discussion in upcoming Working Party TELE meetings. Specifically on Article 10 on Privacy settings, the Presidency has proposed to amend it: the provision now requires information to be provided to the end-user about the possibility to choose a setting, without however prompting the end-user to agree with the settings upon installation or first usage of the browser. The Presidency has also proposed to include periodic reminders about the privacy settings. The Presidency has also amended the Article 16 on Direct marketing communication: a new paragraph allows Member States to set a time limit for using customers’ contact details for direct marketing. To address concerns that online advertising would be captured by the provisions on direct marketing, the new text of Article 16 explicitly excludes advertisements on websites that are displayed to the general public and do not require end-users’ contact details. The discussions on the Digital Content Directive continue in trialogues On 21 March, the Rapporteur for the Proposal for a Directive on Contracts for the supply of digital content, MEP Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE) reported back to the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament about the outcome of last trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive. The MEP mentioned that an agreement has been found on most of the issues, but that three questions remain open for discussion: software embedded in goods, the degree of harmonization regarding guarantee period, and the question of data protection. You can find more information in the article that we published today on our website. Ecommerce Europe attended a European Commission?s Expert Group on GDPR On 20 March, Léon Mölenberg – Senior Policy Advisor for Ecommerce Europe – attended the 2nd meeting of the European Commission?s Expert Group to support the application of the General Data Protection Regulation. The Commission presented an overview of the implementation, stressing that while only 3 countries had already implemented the new rules, most countries should be ready by 25 May. The Commission mentioned that it was not planning on proposing delegated acts on the GDPR for the moment. Participants asked the Commission if it would be possible to obtain an overview of all the parts of the regulation where member States are allowed to go further, and the Commission assured that it will deliver this document as soon as possible. Regarding raising awareness among citizens and SMEs, the Commission asked participants to share again their guidance website, which now includes documents in 22 languages and a lists of National Data Protection Authorities. The Commission welcomes feedbacks on the toolkits from companies. European Commission published extensive Q&A on the Geo-blocking Regulation For a better understanding of the Regulation on Geo-blocking, which will apply as of 3 December 2018, the European Commission has recently published some material that is supposed to facilitate compliance. Please feel free to share it with your members, especially the extensive Q&A document. This document is provided by the Commission services for information purposes only. It does not contain any authoritative interpretation of the Geo-blocking Regulation and it does not constitute a decision or position of the Commission. The Commission published the full text of the Regulation, the Extensive Q&A document on the Geo-blocking Regulation as well as the 10 Key Features of the Geo-blocking Regulation. The European Commission publishes a Notice regarding the Geo-blocking Regulation after Brexit The European Commission published a Notice to Stakeholders regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and the EU legislation in the field of geo-blocking. According to the document, as of the withdrawal date, natural persons residing in the United Kingdom (unless they have a nationality of a Member State) or undertakings established in the United Kingdom will not be able to benefit from Regulation. For traders, considering the Geo-blocking Regulation applies to all traders operating within the EU, regardless of whether those traders are established in the EU or in a third country, will continue to be bound by the rules established by the Regulation.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 13-03 to 19-03. Tomorrow 20 March, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend the 2nd meeting of the Multistakeholder expert group to support the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Among the topics on the agenda, the state of play in relation to the the entry into application of the GDPR and awareness-raising activities towards business and citizens related to the application of the GDPR. Furthermore, this week the Brussels team will continue the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: New leaked draft of the upcoming Regulation on platforms Ecommerce Europe received a new leaked version of the upcoming draft Proposal for a Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services and online search engines in the Digital Single Market. Compared to the previous version we analyzed, the scope has been extended to include online search engines and comparison websites. There has been some modification concerning Ranking, with a new section on online search engines and additional safeguards regarding protecting trade secrets. The European Commission also added precision to the article on Access to data and the article on Internal complaint-handling system. The text will still likely be modified before the expected publication of the official text, expected on 25 April. New leaked draft of the Proposal for a Directive on the Digital Service Tax and OECD Interim Report on ?Tax Challenges arising from Digitalization? Ecommerce Europe received the leaked Directive on the Digital Services Tax (DST), which is expected to be published by the European Commission on 21 March. We are currently evaluating if our concerns have been addressed in this new version. To request a copy of the leaked document, please contact Luca Cassetti (firstname.lastname@example.org). On the same topic, on Friday 16 March, the OECD held a webinar to present their 2018 Interim Report on ?Tax Challenges arising from Digitalization?. During the presentation of the Interim Report, the Task Force on the Digital Economy of the OECD stressed that there was no consensus on the need for, or merit of, interim measures, and that therefore the report did not recommend their introduction. The OECD is aiming at proposing a consensus-based solution by 2020. You can find the full report and a summary of the report online. Ecommerce Europe gathered more information on the package New Deal for Consumers Ecommerce Europe has gathered additional details on the upcoming package New Deal for Consumers, which is supposed to be published by the European Commission on 11 April 2018. The package will include measures on penalties and changes to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, including the introduction by Member States of penalties for the violations of the consumer law and remedies for individual consumers for breaches of the UCPD. The package will also include changes to the Consumer Rights Directive, such as to the Right to withdrawal and the introduction of transparency rules for marketplaces, as well as introduce new measures on collective redress. European Parliament adopted the Parcel Delivery Regulation On 13 March, the European Parliament?s plenary adopted the interinstitutional agreement on the Regulation for cross-border parcel delivery services. The text now needs the endorsement of the Council of the EU and will become fully applicable in 2019. For more information, you can consult the European Parliament?s press release and you can find the final text of the Regulation here. European Parliament adopted two resolutions on Corporate Tax Base On 15 March, Members of the Parliament adopted two resolutions on the ?Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base? and the ?Common Corporate Tax Base?, aiming at creating a single EU corporate tax regime and harmonized corporate tax system. The resolutions introduce the concept of ?Digital presence? and invite the Commission to prepare and set out benchmarks which would help identify whether a firm has a ?digital presence? within an EU Member State and is therefore liable for tax on the territory. European Banking Authority published its roadmap on Fintech On 15 March, the EBA published its roadmap on Fintech, setting out its priorities for 2018-2019 and focusing on monitoring the regulatory perimeter, including assessing current authorization and licensing approaches to FinTech firms; monitoring emerging trends and analyzing the impact on incumbent institutions’ business models; promoting best supervisory practices on assessing cybersecurity and promoting a common cyber threat testing framework and addressing consumer issues arising from FinTech and identifying and assessing money laundering/terrorist financing risks. Regulatory Technical Standards on Strong Customer Authentication have been published in the EU Official Journal The Regulatory Technical Standards on ?strong customer authentication and common and secure open standards of communication? have been published in the EU Official Journal On 13 March. The Regulatory Technical Standards will apply in September 2019.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 06-03 to 12-03. This week, the Brussels team will start the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April. As usual, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: EU Commission President Juncker replies to Ecommerce Europe?s letter on the fair taxation of the digital economy The President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, thanked Ecommerce Europe for the letter we sent him on 5 March 2018 in relation to the Commission’s ongoing preparation of a measure for the fair and effective taxation of the digital economy and its potential negative impact on EU merchants. The Head of Cabinet, Ms. Clara Martinez Alberola, confirmed that the President has taken note of the content of the letter with attention and that the Member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Mr. Pierre Moscovici, is looking into the points we have raised and will respond to us rapidly. The Bulgarian Presidency published a revised text of the ePrivacy Regulation Ahead of the next Working Party TELE meeting on 13 March, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU published a revised text. The Presidency proposed amendments regarding the link to GDPR, ancillary services, machine-to-machine communication and consent. The Presidency also amended the article 1(3) to delete the phrase ‚electronic communications’ to signal that the ePrivacy regulation does not deal only with personal data that are electronic communications data but also with other types of personal data. The Presidency proposed elements for consideration regarding future discussion on permitted processing of metadata. The text reveals that some delegations expressed interest in exploring the option to expand the permitted processing of electronic communications metadata and the legality of such option. However, some delegations were satisfied with the current solutions, and a few others favored the introduction of legitimate interest in line with the GDPR. The European Commission published its Action Plan on Fintech On 8 March, the European Commission published its Action plan on Fintech that includes a series of initiatives aiming at supporting innovative business models to scale up, encourage the uptake of new technologies in the financial sector and increase cybersecurity. Based on the conclusion of the public consultation that ended in June 2017, the European Commission believes that the case for ?broad legislative or regulatory action or reform at EU level? on FinTech issues is limited, but that a number of targeted initiatives are warranted. The Commission plans, among other things, to report on challenges and opportunity of crypto assets later this year, and will work on comprehensive strategy on distributed ledger economy and blockchain. For more information, you can consult the Commission?s press releaseand the Action Plan. EuroCommerce published a FAQ on the Geo-blocking Regulation On 2 March, the Geo-blocking Regulation has been officially published in the Official Journal of the EU and will be applicable as of 3 December 2018. You can consult the official text here. During the past weeks, EuroCommerce gathered feedback from its members in order to developed a FAQ explaining the key rules applicable to the sector and giving concrete example to facilitate compliance. You are invited to send the FAQ document to your members as well. The European Commission launched its internal inter-service consultation for the draft package New Deal for Consumers On 5 March, the European Commission launched its internal inter-service consultation for the draft package New Deal for Consumers. The Commission aims at publishing the package on 11 April. According to the latest information we received, the package could include penalties for breaches of consumer law, individual remedies, restriction of commercial activity, a clarification of the right of withdrawal and collective redress. The European Commission launched a call for experts for a group on liability and new technologies On 9 March, the European Commission launched a call for expert for a group on liability and new technologies. The main tasks of the Expert Group will be to provide the Commission with expertise on the applicability of the Product Liability Directive to traditional products, new technologies and new societal challenges (Product Liability Directive formation) and, in light of an assessment of the existing liability schemes, assist the Commission in developing principles that can serve as guidelines for possible adaptations of applicable laws at EU and national level relating to new technologies (New Technologies formation). For more information, you can consult the press release. The deadline for application in 30 April 2018. The European Commission launched a call for a High-level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence On 9 March, the European Commission launched a call to apply for a High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. The general objective of the group shall be to support the implementation of the European strategy on AI. This will include the elaboration of recommendations on future AI-related policy development and on ethical, legal and societal issues related to AI, including socio-economic challenges. Ecommerce Europe will assess the need to submit an application. For more information, you can consult the Commission?s open call. The deadline for application is 9 April. The European Parliament Research services have published a report on ?The collaborative economy and taxation? The European Parliament Research services prepared a report addressed to Members and staff of the European Parliament on taxing the value created in the collaborative economy. This report will likely feed the discussion on the upcoming proposal on the Fair taxation of the digital economy that is expected to be published on 21 March. For more information, you can consult the report. The European Commission published it 2017 Report on the Rapid Alert System The European Commission published it 2017 report on the Rapid Alert System. The report shows that in 2017, the Rapid Alert System was increasingly used by national authorities with more than 2,000 alerts on dangerous products circulated through the system. For more information, you can consult the report.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 27-02 to 05-03. This week, the Brussels team will be attending some events and conferences. In particular, on 6 March, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will be a panelist in the Public Policy Exchange’s conference on „Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU: Preserving Consumers? Rights in the Digital Society”. The discussion will focus, among other topics, on:
- The latest developments concerning the European legislative framework on consumer protection;
- How to better enforce consumer protection laws,
- Solutions for efficient and effective remedies against consumer rights infringements and
- New ways to integrate consumer interests into the Digital Space.
For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 20-02 to 26-02. This week, the Brussels team will be attending several events and conferences. On 27 February: Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend the GS1 Global Forum marketplace networking event where he will exchange views with delegated from around the world on best practices in the world of e-commerce. Public Affairs Advisor on e-Payments Pascal König will speak at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He will be a speaker in the panel on „The possibilities brought by PSD2: an open API economy accelerator”. Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend the EuroCommerce Internal Market Working Committee where the discussion will focus on the New Deal for Consumers, the latest updates on geo-blocking and the digital contracts proposals. Juliette Beaulaton will attend the 2nd Annual Conference on ?Fintech and Digital Innovation: Regulation at the European level and beyond?. On the agenda, the role of artificial intelligence in financial services, the place for standard setting in Fintech, and how new technologies such as RegTech can contribute to the effective compliance and enforcement of financial services regulation. On 1 March, Ecommerce Europe will welcome the members of the e-Regulations Working Committee for a Working Group on VAT and taxation (upon invitation only). As usual, the Brussels team will continue performing public affairs activities. Please see below the policy highlights of the past week: The EP IMCO Committee adopted its Report on the Sales of Goods Directive On 22 February, the European Parliament?s IMCO Committee adopted the Report on the amended Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods (Sales of Goods Directive), drafted by MEP Pascal Arimont. The Committee also adopted the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations as soon as the Council will adopt its position on the Directive. The Report shows that the IMCO Committee clearly took into considerations some of our recommendations, which were shared also by other industry/business associations, with a few differences. Unfortunately, for some other elements, the Report fails in achieving a high degree of harmonization and does not clarify the scope of the Directive. Ecommerce Europe is now focusing is lobbying activities on the representative of the Member States, in view of the definition of the position of the Council. The Report is not yet available, but you can consult the European Parliament?s Press release and/or contact Luca Cassetti (email@example.com) for additional information. Ecommerce Europe shared recommendations with the EP IMCO Committee Members in view of the vote on the Report on the Sales of Goods Directive On 20 February, Ecommerce Europe sent an e-mail to the Members of the European Parliament?s IMCO Committee in view of the vote on the Draft Report of MEP Pascal Arimont on the Sales of Goods Directive, scheduled for tomorrow morning, to share our recommendations and concerns. We called on policymakers to support a fully harmonized approach for this directive, namely full harmonization of the legal guarantee period at 2 years all over the EU, and an alignment of rules for the sale of goods and the supply of digital content. As other EU industry associations, we also mentioned that 1 year for the reversal of the burden of proof would be a reasonable compromise and that commercial guarantees should remain a voluntary tool for producers. The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council made public a new Discussion paper on the ePrivacy Regulation The Bulgarian presidency published the Discussion paper that was examined during the Working Party TELE on 12 February. The Presidency discussion paper concerns Articles 2 (excluding some activities falling outside the scope of the e-Privacy Regulation) and article 11 (allowing the EU and Member States, under certain conditions, to restrict the rights and obligations provided in the ePrivacy regulation by means of legislative measures) of the proposal for a Regulation. The purpose of the discussion paper was to clarify the scope and link between article 2 and 11 as well as the list of general public interests referred to in Article 11(1) of the proposal. It sought delegations? opinion on several options to pursue the discussion. The Council of the EU will approve the informal agreement on the Geo-blocking Regulation tomorrow The Council will adopt the final version of the Geo-blocking Regulation during the General Affairs Council tomorrow morning. As the European Parliament already adopted the text on 7 February, it will now enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will apply as from nine months after the publication. You can find here tomorrow?s Council of the EU agenda. The trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive move ahead despite remaining disagreements On 21 February, the EP IMCO Rapporteur Evelyn Gebhardt reported back to the EP IMCO Committee on the last trialogue on the Digital Content Directive. The negotiations are moving smoothly on most of the issues, and the Rapporteur is still hoping to reach an informal agreement by mid-2018. However, negotiators are still having difficulties in reaching a compromise on several points, including the harmonization of the period for the reversal of the burden of proof and the extension of the scope to embedded digital content. MEP Gebhardt added that the European Parliament will continue to push for full harmonization as a key objective of the Directive. The next trialogue will take place on 6 March. The EP JURI Committee held a hearing on Collective Redress On 21 February, the EP JURI Committee invited the European Commission as well as representatives from BEUC and Business Europe to discuss the work of the Commission on collective redress so far and the upcoming revision of the Injunctions Directive. The Commission is exploring the idea of extending the scope, since consumer interests are protected not only by consumer law, but also by legislations in other areas, including energy, environment, telecom, financial services. Concerning the level of harmonization, the Commission wants to take into account the legal culture of each Member States, so it will try to introduce flexible instruments to ensure relevant safeguard, while maintaining Member States? freedom to keep their collective redress mechanisms.