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.
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.