Completing the Digital Single Market

It is unbelievable that in a 21st century Europe there are still barriers to online transactions between EU Member States. Over 40% of Europeans buy goods online but less than 1 in 10 of us have bought something online from a trader in another EU country.

Completing the digital single market

It astounds me to see that there are still some European households who today either do not have access to the internet or have access to very slow connection speeds. For example, in Spain and Italy more than 30% of the population have never used the internet before. Whilst in Poland only 40% of the population have access to an internet connection speed above 2 megabit per second – at which speed it takes almost an hour to download a film.

The UK Government is working with others to do something about this. We want the EU to complete its Digital Single Market. This involves simplifying the rules governing businesses and consumers who engage in online transactions, improving internet infrastructure to make surfing quicker as well as increasing online security to protect consumers.

The economic benefits accrued across the EU, once all these measures have been implemented will be significant. Consumers will have more choice, competition will increase and prices will fall. Businesses will have a larger consumer base to target, sell more and increase revenue. Completing the Digital Single Market will add on average about £3,500 to each EU household and boost economic activity across the region.



8 Responses

  1. David Barker says:

    It will be great to see this achieved – not just so that physical products can be bought and sold easily, but to give more of the population across the EU access to making a living linked to the knowledge economy and the services sector – where many tasks and job roles can be done without a specific geographical location (be it from home or small branch offices based in any community).

    There’s more about this on my blog entry ‘Where you live doesn’t have to matter’ if of interest:

    All the best,


  2. If the average increase per household is £3500 then what the Minister is suggesting is that across Europe this program will add aproximately £68 billion to the economic activity of the EU. (given that Eurostat estimates for numbers of households in the EU are about 200 million).

    That is an awfully big number. I wonder if the Minister could furnish us with the evidence for this claim?

  3. Rob Knight says:

    Of course, one of the barriers might be warranty support – what happens if a product goes wrong?

    I believe there are existing measures in place between some EU member states that enable a consumer to effectively have the same rights when buying a product from another EU state as they do in their own?

    However it’s not clear, for example, whether sovereign legislation (such as the Sales of Goods Act) applies to another EU member state when the product is purchased from the UK?


    Rob Knight.

  4. awbMaven says:

    What barriers are there to online transactions between EU Member States?

    The main reasons for citizens to buy online from traders in their own country are language and delivery costs. There’s not much point in buying from a trader in the EU when delivery costs are added in my experience, nor if you can’t understand what they are selling.

  5. James McLaren says:


    You’re barking up the wrong tree. The day that it becomes easy to make payment from a British bank account for goods purchased elsewhere in the UK will be the day the single market takes off – but as I have recently discovered to my cost, British banks aren’t willing to lift a finger to help in this.

  6. David Hutchinson says:

    My English bank does not do Internet transfers abroad.You have to telephone them. Also The charges for cash withdrawals in England and in other European countries ( called “abroad”) are different. Also there is no European vehicle insurance policy, so if I have an English car and spend a lot of time working in Spain, I am in an unacceptable legal position. England has a long mental road top travel before it is an European country!!

  7. Mr. Hon. Minister,
    The conservative proposed a referendum to pull out of Europe according to the remarks made by the prime minister Mr. Cameron.I do feel that Britain should stay in the Union and take a center role since it is the strongest ally of United States and an important member of the NATO she is a stabilising power in Europe.
    Thank You

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