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E-Commerce Legislation Helping Online Services, Says EC

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

27 November 2003


A recently released European Commission report on the implementation of the E-Commerce Directive has revealed that the rules have increased interest in online services throughout the Union, boosting the number of internet users expected to shop online by 2006 to 54%.

The EC believes that by applying the internal market principle of freedom to provide services to e-commerce, the Directive has had a "substantial and positive effect". However, it added that given the rapid pace of technological development, and the high growth rate of the sector, vigilance with regard to the application of the European legislation will be required.

Although the deadline for implementation of the E-Commerce Directive was 17 January, 2002, it has only been incorporated into national legislation in 12 EU member states so far.

However, according to the EC report, work on its implementation in the remaining countries (France, the Netherlands, and Portugal) appears well advanced, and five of the ten acceding member states have already incorporated the Directive into national law.

Speaking following the release of the report, Internal Market Commissioner, Frits Bolkestein remarked that:

"The EU's directive is helping e-commerce to take off in the internal market by ensuring that Europe's e-commerce entrepreneurs can take full advantage of a domestic market of more than 370 million consumers. Real online success stories are emerging."

However, he added:

"Things change rapidly in this sector, so we cannot sit back. We now need to make sure that the directive continues to work well over the next few years, in an enlarged European Union."


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