Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip shares priorities Ecommerce Europe

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Mr. Andrus Ansip put an emphasis on boosting e-commerce during his hearing before the Members of European Parliament. The hearing is part of the process to get confirmed by the Parliament for his new post as the European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market. Many of his priorities resonate with the recommendations Ecommerce Europe has communicated to Mr. Ansip during the previous weeks. For example, one of the priorities Mr. Ansip shares with Ecommerce Europe is to make sure the EU-wide Online Dispute Resolution platform in 2016 fully functions properly so consumers and merchants can solve disputes in a simple, fast and low-cost way.

Boosting e-commerce can lead to 1.7% annual growth in Europe
Mr. Ansip further specified that “if e-commerce were to account for 15% of European retail sales – instead of the 5% it is today – the EU would gain 1.7% in annual growth, once all barriers to the single market were removed”. Further, he declared that breaking down trade barriers and harmonizing legal frameworks could create around 900,000 new jobs by 2020. The Vice-President-designate’s determination to complete the Digital Single Market, impressed European Parliament Members. Jan Philipp Albrecht, in charge of the data protection reform, labeled Ansip as a ‘real Digital Commissioner’.

Ansip aims rapid completion data protection reform
Concerning the protection of personal data, Mr. Ansip would like to put some pressure on the European Heads of State and Government, to finally reach an agreement on this dossier. Ecommerce Europe supports the harmonization of data protection rules, as it will make it easier for European online merchants to expand their activities cross-border. However, the data protection rules should not pose additional burdens upon the e-commerce sector, something that should be safeguarded when an agreement is rushed.

Coordination between digital Commissioners
In his role as Vice-President, Mr. Ansip will be in charge of the big matters, while his colleagues Commissioners Věra Jourová (Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality) and Günther Oettinger (Digital Economy) will provide him support. Ecommerce Europe welcomes the integrated approach introduced by President-elect Juncker, as it is something Ecommerce Europe has strongly advocated for. More coordination between Commissioners in charge of digital issues could speed up the process of completing the Digital Single Market.

Next steps
Some Commissioners-designate have not received green light after the parliamentary hearings and MEPs are expected to decide on the new College of the Commission soon. The Parliament’s plenary is expected to vote on the College of the Commission on Wednesday 22 October. Ecommerce Europe has had fruitful relationships with the previous digital Commissioner and would be very pleased to continue this trend with the new, broader, “digital” team.

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