Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 12: E-Commerce in the Single Market context – the invisible framework
It is not an exaggeration to say that trade between Member States is the primary purpose behind the present European Union and its various predecessors. It is equally unsurprising that the electronic manifestation of that trade, the Digital Single Market, has remained the preoccupation of the Commission since the mid-1990s. Indeed, Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, labelled the Digital Single Marked a ‘new frontier’ in a 2013 speech. He produced an astonishing wish list that remains unachieved as of 2013: the consumer ability to compare products from all over Europe, the ability to access digital entertainment from across Europe, easy access to ‘free, independent and multiple’ sources of information, easy and convenient access to digital banking and other financial products, the ability of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to go online, the ability of entrepreneurs to avail themselves of the Internet and the opportunities that it gives and cheap and efficient public administration. The list ends with a statement that the Commission ‘has undertaken a major work programme to achieve the Digital Single Market’. This is not an isolated example; nor is it new. Hardly a single document that has any bearing on electronic commerce, telecommunications or the Internet sees the light of day without a reference to the Internal Market.
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