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Summary: 14.09.2017 r.

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 05-09 to 11-09. For information, please find attached the overview of current policy dossiers of the Working Committees on e-Regulations, e-Logistics and e-Payments.

This week, the Brussels Team is busy, attending several meetings and working on the preparations for upcoming meetings and lobbying actions. Besides this, the team is busy with preparations for the e-Payments and e-Regulations Working Committees on 20 September.

See below, the policy highlights of this week:

Luca Cassetti appointed as Director of EU Public Affairs

Ecommerce Europe appointed Luca Cassetti as the Director of European Public Affairs of the association. Mr. Cassetti, who has officially taken up his new position as of today, will manage the Public Affairs agenda and the Brussels team of the association on a daily basis.

Luca Cassetti declared: “I am honored to take up the position of Director of EU Public Affairs and I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of the e-commerce sector, in close cooperation with our Members and with the support of the Brussels team of Ecommerce Europe. Even though the sector we represent is rapidly growing, online merchants still experience substantial barriers when selling in the EU. We need to keep advocating for a better policy landscape and propose our own market solutions in order to facilitate and increase domestic and especially cross-border sales to consumers in the EU”.

“We strongly believe that Luca Cassetti is the right person for this position”, stated Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe. “In his previous years as a Public Affairs Advisor for Ecommerce Europe, Luca has developed solid knowledge on the current and future challenges of the e-commerce sector. Most importantly, he has demonstrated great insight both on a strategical and executive level. I am very pleased that he will now be overall responsible for the management of Public Affairs activities of Ecommerce Europe”, Ms. ten Ham concluded.

Council is taking into considerations liability regime for online marketplaces and fulfilment houses on VAT

According to a recent leaked document of the Council seen by Ecommerce Europe, some changes proposed to the EU VAT Package of the European Commission are likely to have an important impact on online marketplaces. Together with Alan Rhode from Taxmen.eu, who is cooperating with Ecommerce Europe on this important topic, we analyzed the new proposals of the Council and wrote a first analysis. It seems that the Council is leaning towards the idea of:
Making fulfilment houses jointly liable for any VAT unpaid by non-EU businesses; and

  • Marketplaces directly liable to collect and pay VAT on consumer sales when the concerned products are imported from outside the EU and have a declared value lower than € 150 (= no strict controls at the EU customs border).

The new regulations cover two alternative situations: non-EU merchants shipping directly from outside the EU to the home of the consumer (last mile delivery) or, on the contrary, non-EU merchants using fulfilment houses in the EU to ship products to consumers (so the fulfilment house takes care of the last mile delivery). According to the new, not yet adopted text, it seems that fulfilment houses providing services to non-EU merchants for the delivery of consumer goods would be jointly and severally liable with the non-EU merchant for any unpaid VAT. The second part of the new provision says that fulfilment houses will be able to avoid any liability if they provide sufficient proof that they have acted in good faith and where no fault or negligence can be imputed to them. Moreover, it seems that the new text introduces new VAT obligations for marketplaces. In fact, online marketplaces facilitating the sale of consumer products imported from outside the EU with a declared value lower than € 150 would become liable for any VAT due on those sales. Please note that the leaked paper is not adopted yet, as discussions in the Council are still ongoing. Ecommerce Europe is currently assessing how to reply to these new potential provisions introducing such a liability regime in the VAT Reform.

Ecommerce Europe co-signs joint industry paper on the European Accessibility Act

Together with other business associations, Ecommerce Europe is calling on Members of the European Parliament to support the Report of MEP Løkkegaard on the proposed Directive for a European Accessibility Act (see attached). The Løkkegaard Report will be debated in the Plenary of the European Parliament on 13 September in the afternoon. The vote on the Report will take place the day after, on 14 September. However, it seems that the Løkkegaard Report has been generating discontent among social democrats and the radical left MEPs. According to a source in the Parliament, the S&D Group has some regrets, as they would have preferred a wider scope. The same source mention that S&D wants to remove all exemptions, including for microenterprises. At the Council, the negotiations are ongoing but it seems very tough. Most probably, no agreements are expected ahead of the upcoming Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) on 23 October.

Estonian Presidency publishes its examination of the draft ePrivacy Regulation

In the context of the ePrivacy Regulation, a new Council document dated 8 September has been recently made publicly available on the Council website (click here for the document). It is an “Examination of the Presidency text” that was sent by the Estonian Presidency to the EU delegations in view of the next Working Party meetings in the Council, scheduled for 19, 20 and 25 September. Please note that this is not a final text and that the revisions made to the Commission’s proposal are based on the discussions held in the Working party until now. The objective of this document is clarifying certain elements and outlining specific issues to be examined for the purposes of advancing the discussions on the file. Therefore, the recitals have not been amended yet and the text focuses only on the articles of the Privacy Regulations. At the next meetings, the Presidency intends to discuss the text of the proposal article by article. During the discussion, the Presidency will invite EU delegations to express their views on proposed changes and also on the 10 policy issues set out in the document. The Presidency gave delegations the deadline of 27 September 2017 to provide written comments. As you may remember, Ecommerce Europe has published a Position Paper on ePrivacy already in July 2017 and of course we have been in contact with all relevant EU policymakers, before and after the publication.

Google challenges record fine

On 11 September, Google launched an appeal against the 2.4 billion euro fine imposed by the European Commission for favoring its own shopping service. Google last week notified the EU it would attempt to meet the demands of the EU decision. And lodging the appeal does not suspend the fine, meaning Google is still obliged to pay, although it can put the money in a blocked account until a decision is made. A court battle between Brussels and Google could take years to resolve and adds to an increasingly bitter row between the US giant and European countries. The EU is also expected to soon decide another case against Google over abusing its dominance of internet search to impose its Android mobile operating system.

Summary: 08.09.2017 r.

Ecommerce Europe has been selected for Commission's Expert Group on GDPR

On 1 September, the European Commission informed us that Ecommerce Europe has been selected by the Evaluation Committee of DG JUST to take part in the Multistakeholder expert group to support the application of the General Data Protection Regulation. This is great news for Ecommerce Europe and its members as the expert group will assist the Commission in identifying the potential challenges in the application of the GDPR from the perspective of several stakeholders and advising the Commission on how to address them. The members will also provide the Commission with recommendations on how to achieve an appropriate level of awareness about the new legislation among different stakeholders, including businesses and citizens. Finally, the group will provide the Commission with advice and expertise in relation to the preparation of delegated acts and, where appropriate and necessary, the early preparation of implementing acts to be adopted under the GDPR. Ecommerce Europe will have the chance to be part of this process and ensure that the voice of the online merchants will be taken into consideration. The first meeting of the group is planned for 19 October 2017 in Brussels.

Next Article 29 Data Protection Working Party FABLAB in October

The Article 29 Working Party is organizing another FABLAB event on 18 October 2017 in Brussels, to work with them on Transparency and International Data transfers. These topics are part of the WP29 GDPR Action Plan for 2017, and will further support the Article 29's consultation process for the implementation of the GDPR before its effective application.

Targeted public consultations on online marketplaces and free online services: deadline extended

The European Commission's Directorate General for Justice and Consumers has extended the deadline to its public consultations on the targeted revision of rules on online platforms and on rules on free services. We therefore invite our members that are concerned by the following two questionnaires to directly send their replies to the Commission:

1. Targeted revision of rules on online platforms: this questionnaire is targeted at merchants that operate as "online marketplaces" and merchants that sell goods and/or services on "online marketplaces". For the purpose of this questionnaire, an online marketplace is a service provider, which allows consumers and traders to conclude online sales and service contracts through its website. The questionnaire is available here. Deadline: 18 September 2017.

2. Targeted revision of rules on free services: this questionnaire is targeted at traders that provide "free" digital services (i.e. cloud services, storage services, email, social media, streaming services, SaaS, etc.). The providers of such "free" services may also monetise the service in other ways. Please see the targeted questionnaire here. The main focus is whether the protection under the Consumer Rights Directive should be extended also to contracts for online services for which the consumer provide data and does not pay with money. Deadline: 18 September 2017.

Invitation to the E-FORUM 2017 event

Ecommerce Europe received an invitation to participate to an event, the E-FORUM 2017, hosted by Retis on Tuesday 3 October 2017 in Liège (Belgium). The E-FORUM will be the first French-speaking Belgian forum dedicated to Connected Trade, Digital Business Transformation and E-commerce, bringing together the service providers (service providers, consultants ) and (merchants, (future) e-merchants, self-employed, small and medium-sized enterprises). The program consists of a day of activities, which aims at reaching a large target audience of traders, e-merchants and SMEs addressing three different but closely connected topics:
1. Digital transformation of enterprises
2. Connected trade and web-to-store solutions
3. E-commerce (with a focus on E-marketing; Delivery; Online payments; Sales platforms; E-commerce rules; E-business consulting and auditing ecommerce)

Summary: 01.09.2017 r.

This week, the Brussels Team is busy picking up the activities that were prepared for in the beginning of August. This means Brussels team will keep working on the preparations for the upcoming meetings and lobbying actions in September. Besides this, the team is busy with preparations for the e-Payments and e-Regulations Working Committees as well as the BoD meeting on 20 September.

See below, the policy highlights of this week:

European Commission supports single set of rules for both online and offline B2C sales

In a letter made publicly available earlier this month, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová informed the Council of the Justice Ministers of the EU of the position of the Commission regarding the extension of the scope of the proposed Directive on contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods to also face-to-face sales. This position is aligned with the position of the European Parliament’s Rapporteur for this proposal, MEP Pascal Arimont, and strongly supported by Ecommerce Europe. The IMCO Committee of the European Parliament is expected to vote on the draft report of MEP Arimont on 11-12 October. From the Council’s side, the Estonian Presidency has started the discussions on some important issues of this proposal, namely its scope. At the informal meeting of beginning July, the Justice Ministers agreed that the rules on online and offline sales should be coherent, although they had some procedural questions on how to extend the scope. These questions were then answered by Commissioner Jourová in the letter mentioned above. The Council is therefore expected to further proceed on this dossier. Ecommerce Europe will ensure that the voice of e-merchants will be taken in due consideration by policymakers.

European Commission published its Consumer Conditions Scoreboard 2017 edition

Just before the summer holidays, the European Commission published its Consumer Conditions Scoreboard. The Consumer Conditions Scoreboard monitors the consumer environment across Europe through three key dimensions: knowledge and trust; compliance and enforcement; complaints and dispute resolution. It also examines progress on the EU Digital Single Market from a consumer perspective. In a nutshell, the findings show that more consumers are buying online and their trust in e-commerce has dramatically increased especially in buying from other EU countries. Retailers, however, remain reluctant to sell online to consumers in other EU countries as their main concerns are higher risks of fraud and differences in tax regulations. They are also discouraged by differences in national contract laws, differences in national consumer protection rules, and potentially higher costs for solving disputes cross-border. Finally, compliance by retailers with consumer rules has also improved. As in previous editions however, significant differences between countries can be observed. Consumer conditions are generally better in northern and western EU countries than eastern and southern ones. Click here for more information and all the relevant documents.

Proposed technical security standards for payment services going in right direction, says Markus Ferber

MEP Markus Ferber (EPP) supported the opinion that the European Parliament can back the Commission’s position on the regulatory technical standards (RTS) for the revised 'Payment Services' directive (PSD2). Ferber said that the EPA's initial draft was too "bank­ driven", which justifies the need for changes to the text to make the RTS more balanced. The MEP agrees with the Commission, arguing that the compromise it put forward - recommending access through a dedicated interface but offering a fallback option allowing the use of a customer interface if the dedicated interface is unavailable or offers lower-quality access - is a "prudent way forward, as banks would have a strong incentive to provide high-quality access to third-party payment providers". No date has so far been set for future discussions at the committee on economic and monetary affairs of the European Parliament, Ferber confirmed on Wednesday 23 August. The timetable and format of proceedings will depend on when the RTS are adopted by the Commission, but also on their content; particular attention will be paid to whether the Parliament's concerns have been taken on board, he stressed.

Platform access to data for business users

During the holiday, Ecommerce Europe was contacted by VVA, a public policy consultancy with offices in London, Brussels and Milan. VVA is carrying out a project on data access and use for business operation on online platforms for the European Commission (DG GROW). The aim of the VVA-project is to create a better overview of the topic for the European Commission, which will ultimately feed into the design of a potential EU level intervention. To serve the purpose of the project, VVA has requested Ecommerce Europe’s input for answering the following questions:

  • Which categories of data are generated by business users and consumers through the use of online platforms (e.g. in an e-commerce context)? 
  • What is the value added provided by the platform with respect to these data and how does this differ across categories of data?
  • Which categories of data do business users have access to (and which not) and how can they re-use this data?
  • What are the economic impacts of different data access & re-use possibilities on business users of platforms?
  • What are the economic impacts of different data access & re-use practices on the platforms themselves?

Summary: 25.08.2017 r.

Platform access to data for business users
During the holiday, Ecommerce Europe was contacted by VVA, a public policy consultancy with offices in London, Brussels and Milan. VVA is carrying out a project on data access and use for business operation on online platforms for the European Commission (DG GROW). The aim of the VVA-project is to create a better overview of the topic for the European Commission, which will ultimately feed into the design of a potential EU level intervention. To serve the purpose of the project, VVA has requested Ecommerce Europe’s input for answering the following questions:

  • Which categories of data are generated by business users and consumers through the use of online platforms (e.g. in an e-commerce context)? 
  • What is the value added provided by the platform with respect to these data and how does this differ across categories of data?
  • Which categories of data do business users have access to (and which not) and how can they re-use this data?
  • What are the economic impacts of different data access & re-use possibilities on business users of platforms?
  • What are the economic impacts of different data access & re-use practices on the platforms themselves?

Ecommerce Europe introduces: Bitbond, expert on Blockchain

At the Global Ecommerce Summit in Barcelona last June, Ecommerce Europe welcomed founder and CEO of Bitbond, Radoslav Albrecht, as a speaker in its panel on blockchain. Bitbond is global marketplace lending platform for small business loans. It enables access to financing for small merchants and online businesses that usually get turned away from traditional banks. Following the fruitful cooperation between Mr. Albrecht and Ecommerce Europe, Bitbond has expressed interest to be connected to national associations. Should you be interested in Bitbond as a company, or in their expertise in the area of Blockchain more generally, please contact Pascal König at pascalkoenig@ecommerce-europe.eu.

Summary: 28.07.2017 r.

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 18-07 to 24-07. For your information, please also find attached the overview of current policy dossiers of the Working Committees on e-Regulations, e-Logistics and e-Payments.

With activities in the institutions winding down for the summer recess, the Brussels team, this week, is busy preparing its public affairs and lobbying strategies for the second half of the year, including the organization of the e-Payments and e-Regulations Working Committees on 20 September. Please note that the Brussels Secretariat will be closed for summer holidays from the 31st of July until the 21th of August. The next weekly update will be sent out on 28 August, which will be in a new layout in line with the Ecommerce Europe newsletter. Ecommerce Europe wishes all of its members a beautiful summer.

Policy highlights of this week include:

  • SAVE THE DATE: Ecommerce Europe Working Committee meetings

On 20 September, the next e-Payments (10h00 – 13h00) and e-Regulations Working Committee (15h00 – 18h00) meetings will take place at the premises of Ecommerce Europe at Rue de Trèves 59-61, Brussels.

  • New targeted public consultations on online marketplaces and free online services

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers has recently launched two new targeted public consultations, which next to the more general consultation on the REFIT of Consumer and Marketing Law. As Ecommerce Europe, we will prepare a draft answer only for the more general consultation on REFIT. We therefore invite our members that are concerned by the following two questionnaires to directly send their replies to the Commission:

  1. Targeted revision of rules on online platforms: this questionnaire is targeted at merchants that operate as "online marketplaces" and merchants that sell goods and/or services on "online marketplaces". For the purpose of this questionnaire, an online marketplace is a service provider, which allows consumers and traders to conclude online sales and service contracts through its website. The questionnaire is availablehere. The deadline for responding is 11 September 2017.
  2. Targeted revision of rules on free services: this questionnaire is targeted at traders that provide "free" digital services (i.e. cloud services, storage services, email, social media, streaming services, SaaS, etc.). The providers of such "free" services may also monetise the service in other ways. Please see the targeted questionnaire here. The main focus is whether the protection under the Consumer Rights Directive should be extended also to contracts for online services for which the consumer provide data and does not pay with money. The deadline for responding is 11 September 2017.
  • REMINDER: REQUEST FOR ACTION: Send Ecommerce Europe Press Release to national Ministries of Finance and Regulators

The European Commission has called a meeting with national experts on the EBA RTS for 27 July to discuss the current state of play and remaining concerns about the RTS on Strong Customer Authentication. This is one of the last chances for the e-commerce sector to raise its concerns and for Member States to raise the sector’s objections to the current draft RTS. On 13 July, Ecommerce Europe published a strongly worded Press Release calling out the shortcomings in the process of drafting the RTS and the Commission/EBA’s preference to protecting banks from fraud risk rather than helping the growth of e-commerce and the Digital Single Market.

Summary: 21.07.2017 r.

With activities in the institutions winding down for the summer recess, the Brussels team, this week, is busy preparing its public affairs and lobbying strategies for the second half of the year, including the organization of the e-Payments and e-Regulations Working Committees on 20 September. Besides this, the Brussels team is preparing for the final legislative stages of the geo-blocking dossier, the European Banking Authority’s draft RTS on Strong Customer Authentication under the PSD2. 

Ecommerce Europe calls out European Commission and Banking Authority in protecting banks, while threatening e-commerce with new draft rules on online payments

Ecommerce Europe, on 13 July, reiterated its strong objection to the European Commission and European Banking Authority’s draft Regulatory Technical Standards on Strong Customer Authentication. The Press Release highlights the fact that the institutions, throughout the drafting process, have time and again, demonstrated their strong backing of the banking industry at the expense of both, the European e-commerce and FinTech sectors, and the growth and success of Europe’s digital economy. For the full Press Release, please click here. For further information about the EBA’s draft RTS and Ecommerce Europe’s position please contact pascalkoenig@ecommerce-europe.eu.

TRAN Committee of the EU Parliament rejected the Draft Report on parcel delivery

On 11 July, the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament rejected the draft report of MEP Anderson. As you may remember, we had several concerns regarding the draft text of the Parliament, which would have imposed burdensome provisions on the e-commerce industry. We warned the EU Institutions several times, also through a joint statement with other trade associations, therefore it is good news for us that the Committee could not agree on the draft text last week. The discussions are supposed to start again after the summer break. We will organize another round of meetings with EU legislators just after the holidays to ensure that the draft text will be revised and improved, and not impose anymore unreasonable burdens on online merchants. For more information, please read our article here.

Ecommerce Europe will be interviewed on commercial guarantee for lifespan

The European Parliament (via CEPS, the Centre for European Policy Studies) is conducting a research on commercial guarantee for lifespan. This study aims at providing evidence and potentially guidance to the European Parliament’s IMCO and JURI committees on the amendments that were put forward in the context of the draft Directive on the distance sales of goods. These amendments would impose obligations on the manufacturers (but also traders) of certain goods (energy related and technical goods) to provide information on the expected lifespan of these goods and commercial guarantee. We managed to plan an interview with CEPS for Léon Mölenberg, our Senior Policy Advisor), who will be interviewed on 19 July. We will keep you informed of any developments on this topic.

Geo-blocking Regulation: state of play

Last week, MEP Schwab, replacing the Rapporteur MEP Thun, updated the IMCO Committee on the tripartite discussions on geo-blocking held on 27 June. MEP Schwab stated that the EP and the Council have managed to approach their positions regarding the applicable law, however there are still some divisive issues:

  • The scope of the Regulation
  • The rules on passive sales restrictions
  • The inclusion of digital services
  • The review clause of the regulation

The European Parliament showed considerable flexibility according to MEP Schwab, but unfortunately the dossier was not concluded under the Maltese Presidency. The negotiations will continue under the Estonian Presidency and the issues to be on top of the agenda will be:

  • The inclusion of non-audiovisual content and digital services (ebooks, software etc.)
  • The rules regarding the prohibition of passive sales restrictions
  • The clause related to the review of the regulation

The next trialogue meeting will be held in September, after the summer break, and the discussions will be highly technical as the MEP pointed out. Ecommerce Europe will stay in close contact with all relevant policymakers, to make sure that safeguards demanded by the e-commerce sector will be included in the text.

Summary: 14.07.2017 r.

This week, the Brussels Team is finalizing the follow-up of the Annual General Meeting as well as the Global E-commerce Summit that Ecommerce Europe hosted in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. Besides this, the Brussels Team is working on preparations for some upcoming meetings and calls. On Tuesday, a conference call of our Trustmark Committee will take place. Furthermore, the team is preparing for a meeting with GS1 Europe that is scheduled for 19 July.

Policy highlights of this week include:

  • European Parliament’s TRAN Committee to vote on parcel delivery

Tomorrow, the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee will vote on the Draft Report of MEP Lucy Anderson on the Proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services. In view of this vote, Ecommerce Europe has identified several issues regarding the latest legislative developments. All our concerns were included in a Joint Statement that we sent to the European legislators. On Friday, Luca Cassetti spoke with Marie Frany, from the Cabinet of Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip. Luca had a good and open discussion with her on the latest developments of the draft regulation. She mentioned that the Commission has always been in close contact with the European Parliament and she confirmed that, in the TRAN committee, it is quite difficult for the S&D Rapporteur, Lucy Anderson, to reach an agreement specifically with the EPP and Markus Ferber (Shadow Rapporteur) and that indeed there are still quite some open questions. We will monitor tomorrow’s vote in the TRAN Committee and report back to you accordingly.

  • Article 29 Working Party reports on June’s meeting on the GDPR

The Article 29 Working Party, at the June plenary meeting, examined certain critical matters with regards to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The WP29 discussed the 40 contributions received during the public consultation on the draft Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) guidelines, which ended on 23 May 2017 and to which Ecommerce Europe contributed. The final version of the guidelines will be adopted at the October plenary. Each WP29 subgroup provided a state of play of its works related to the GDPR and the 2017 Action Plan (consent, profiling, transparency, data breach notifications and data transfers) with the aim to adopt guidelines by December 2017. The official press release of the WP29 is available here.

  • ePrivacy Regulation, a priority for the Estonian Presidency of the Council

The Estonian Presidency of the Council sent a note (see attached) to the EU member states’ delegations on the draft ePrivacy Regulation. In the note, the Presidency reminds its commitment, already announced at the June TTE Council meeting, to advance further this important dossier. Estonia mentions also that it is clear from the progress report, discussions at working party level in the Council and delegations' written comments that there are still open questions. That is why the Presidency wanted to dedicate the first WP TELE on ePrivacy of today to that objective. Such meetings are not open to the public. The Presidency expressed its intention to focus on two sets of issues: the interplay between the ePR and the GDPR and issues related to processing information stored in the devices (cookies). More information can be found in the document attached. In the meantime, Ecommerce Europe revised its position on the ePrivacy Regulation and shared it again with EU policymakers. We are also coordinating with EuroCommerce, so that our positions will be as much as possible aligned. Ecommerce Europe received last week a preliminary proposal for amendments through the Industry Coalition of Data Protection (ICDP), of which we are a member. All ICDP members, including us, are welcomed to send feedback by 21 July. We will keep the e-Regulations Working Committee informed of all our activities accordingly.

Summary: 07.07.2017 r.

EBA publishes Opinion on RTS on Strong Customer Authentication – disagrees with Commission

On 29 June, the European Banking Authority published its Opinion on the changes made by the Commission to the draft RTS on Strong Customer Authentication and common and secure communication. While the EBA agrees with the aims sought in the European Commission's amendments, the EBA disagrees with some of the means by which the Commission is proposing to achieve that aim. More specifically, the EBA disagrees with three of the four proposed amendments, namely the proposals for statutory auditors, an SCA exemption for corporate payments and screen scraping. The EBA is of the view that the Commission’s suggested changes would negatively impact the fine trade-off it had found in achieving the various competing objectives of the PSD2. The EBA’s opinion, disagreeing with almost every change made by the Commission leaves open the fate of the RTS. At this point, all actors in the value chain are unhappy with the aspects of the draft RTS. The Commission is now expected to consider the EBA’s Opinion until the end of Summer before submitting the final draft RTS to the European Parliament and Council for approval or rejection by September. The Parliament and Council have up to 3 months to scrutinize the RTS but cannot make any further changes. 

  •  ENISA releases online trust authentication guidelines under eIDAS Regulation

On June 29, the European Union’s cybersecurity agency, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), published additional guidance on electronic signatures for the one-year anniversary of the eIDAS regulation on electronic identification and trust services. The electronic signatures guidance gives security guidelines, concrete examples of how eSignatures can assist companies, and gives a list of recommendations for using them correctly. 

  • European Commission launches Public Consultation on the follow up to the Fitness Check of EU consumer law and the CRD Evaluation

European Commission’s DG JUST has recently published a public consultation on the follow up to the Fitness Check of EU consumer law and the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), available here. Further to the recently concluded Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law and evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive, the Commission is seeking stakeholders' views on possible targeted legislative changes in some key EU consumer law directives. The evidence gathered during these assessments points to the following areas where legislative changes may be necessary to further fine-tune the cross-cutting consumer law body:

  • o providing more transparency on whom consumers conclude contracts with when buying on online platforms (online marketplaces) and whether EU consumer rights are applicable to such contracts;
  • extension of some consumer rights to contracts for online services where consumers provide data instead of paying with money;
  • individual redress/remedies for consumers harmed by unfair commercial practices, for example misleading green claims;
  • more proportionate, effective and deterrent financial penalties to tackle breaches of consumer laws;
  • simplification of some rules and requirements.

The consultation seeks stakeholders' views on the possible legislative changes listed above. All stakeholders, in particular businesses and their national representatives, are invited to fill in the questionnaire. Ecommerce Europe will prepare a draft response that will be discussed at our next e-Regulations Working Committee meeting on 20 September. The deadline to fill in the questionnaire is 8 October 2017.

  • Draft Geo-blocking Regulation: updates on trialogue negotiations

Commenting on the last trialogue negotiation with the Maltese Presidency that took place last week, MEP Roza Thun (Rapporteur for the proposal) expressed her disappointment because the Council blocked the agreement on the Regulation. It seems that an agreement in trialogue will only be possible after summer / in autumn. In the meantime, Ecommerce Europe keeps advocating for our position on geo-blocking.

The Parliament, with the IMCO Committee report voted in April 2017, proposed to:

  • ban passive sales restrictions (agreements between supplier and the trader that forces the latter to geoblock)
  • give more legal certainty for traders who sell cross-borders (we still believe that the previous solution, included in the draft report of MEP Thun, was clearer than the final version of the text adopted in IMCO regarding the applicable law)
  • stop the discrimination when it comes to software, music, e-books and videogames (in the territories where the trader has all necessary rights and licenses). 

The Council, however, blocked the agreement. MEP Thun declared that negotiators agreed to resume work with the Estonian Presidency, which has started on 1 July, aiming at finding solutions on the following issues: 

  • discrimination in digital services, such as e-books, music, video games and software,
  • rules prohibiting passive sales restrictions
  • review of this regulation.
  • European Ecommerce Report 2017

Last week, Ecommerce Europe together with EuroCommerce & the Ecommerce Foundation officially presented the European Ecommerce Report 2017 at a press conference. The report shows e-commerce trends, facts & figures and offers insights into each of the European e-commerce markets. As a result of the conference and official press release, the report was covered by various media outlets, such as POLITICO, Ecommerce News Europe,RetailDetail EUKashmirWatch & IT Reseller & Emerce. For questions about the report or press release, please contact Merel van Doorn atmerelvandoorn@ecommerce-europe.eu.

Summary: 30.06.2017 r.

This week, the Brussels Team is still busy with the follow-up of the Annual General Meeting as well as the Global E-commerce Summit that Ecommerce Europe hosted in Barcelona two weeks ago. Other than that, the Team is attending some interesting meetings and events. Today, Ecommerce Europe together with EuroCommerce and the Ecommerce Foundation hosted a press conference presenting the European Ecommerce Report 2017. On Tuesday, Pascal König is attending an EURACTIV event on FinTech strategy within the EU. On Wednesday, Luca Cassetti will be attending the “Start me up” event of our national association Fevad in Paris. On Friday, Merel van Doorn will be joining a Retail Data Seminar that is hosted by Ahold Delhaize.

Policy highlights of this week include:

  • European Parliament (EP) discussed draft e-Privacy Regulation last week

Last week, the LIBE Committee of the EP discussed the draft regulation on electronic communications and privacy. LIBE, which is in the leading committee for this legislative file, considered the draft report of MEP Lauristin on 21 June. The Rapporteur mentioned that the ePrivacy Regulation should be based on the article 7 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and, for that reason, the goal of the regulation should be the protection of confidentiality of private life. The GDPR, instead, is based on Article 8 of the Charter, which is focussing on the protection of data and its collection. The scope of the regulation remains one of the most debated items. On consent via browser settings, the Rapporteur stressed that users are not always aware or in a position to set privacy protection through such settings. In her opinion, it is a complicated operation and, for that reason, the initial browser setting should be set to “Do not Track”. Hence, there should be a privacy by default and by design approach. In her opinion, the proposal should be ready in Autumn 2017 (October, tbc). The deadline for LIBE MEPs for tabling amendments to Lauristin’s draft report has been postponed from 5 July to 10 July. MEPs Boni and Dalton questioned the timeframe to adopt this regulation. MEP In ‘T Veld disagreed on the suggestion of not going fast with the legislative process as the regulation should be adopted in the agreed timeframe of May 2018. Ecommerce Europe is currently pro-actively lobbying on this file, as already mentioned in the previous updates.

  • EP TRAN Committee discussed draft amendments to Parcel Delivery Regulation

On 20 June, the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament had a meeting on the draft cross-border parcel delivery. The Rapporteur MEP Anderson introduced the consideration of amendments. She admitted that the topic is quite technical and clarified that the objective of this legislation should remain cross-border parcels and the improvement of the services in relation to the Single Market. The main issues, according to MEP Anderson, are regarding the scope, in particular whether the provisions in this Regulation governing price transparency and the assessment of prices should be applicable simply to Universal Service Providers (USPs) or to all parcel delivery service providers. The Rapporteur is willing to find a solution that does not create too many burdens on the business, provided that it provides a fair insight into the market for regulators. Also, she clearly mentioned that there is no will to create price regulation through price transparency. MEP Anderson is still hoping to have the TRAN vote on the report on 11 July. 

  • Joint Statement: Businesses concerned by the draft Parcel Delivery Regulation

Today, Ecommerce Europe sent a Joint Statement on parcel delivery to the EU institutions. In light of the most recent legislative developments, we have specific concerns regarding the draft Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services. That is why we approached again EU policymakers to give them clear indications on the position of the online merchants. The statement is available here

  • Compliance guide on the PSD2 RTS on Strong Customer Authentication and common and secure communication

On 23 February 2017, the European Banking Authority released its final draft of the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on Strong Customer Authentication and Common and Secure Communication under the revised Payment Services Directive 2. Following amendments by the European Commission, the draft RTS are currently under consideration for opinion by the European Banking Authority. The EBA’s recommendations are expected to be published over the coming weeks before the Council of the EU and MEPs will vote on the RTS before the end of the year. The PSD2 and its RTS on SCA will dramatically change how online merchants and their Payment Service Providers can operate both their checkout and their online payments processes. Once the PSD2 comes into effect in May 2018, financial services providers must have security solutions in place that will safeguard all client-to-server communications. Please find attached a helpful PSD2 security guide, which sums up PSD2’s client-to-server security directives, analyzes how they will affect the current online payments environment, and provide a clear path to compliance for online merchants and Payment Service Providers.

  • 17 EU Member States call for a high-level focus on completing the Digital Single Market

In a letter sent to the President of the European Council on 21 June, leaders from 17 EU Member States call on the European Council to fully commit to the success of the Digital Single Market, stating that it was the Single Markets main driver of growth. The letter, drafted by Poland and co-signed by leaders from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the UK, calls on President Tusk to ensure EU Heads of State and Government would properly discuss the 16 policy initiatives proposed by the European Commission under its 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy. Among others, the letter to calls for “a future-oriented and positive approach to emerging technologies such as Blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence”.

  • Ecommerce Europe presents European Ecommerce Report 2017

Today, Ecommerce Europe together with EuroCommerce & the Ecommerce Foundation officially presented the European Ecommerce Report 2017. The report shows ecommerce trends, facts & figures and offers insights into each of the European e-commerce markets. European e-commerce turnover increased by 15% to €530 billion in 2016. For 2017, the European B2C e-commerce turnover is forecasted to reach around €602 billion, a growth rate of nearly 14%. Attached to this email, you’ll find the Press Release that was sent earlier today. 

Summary: 23.06.2017 r.

This week, the Brussels Team is mainly busy following up the Annual General Meeting as well as the Global E-commerce Summit Ecommerce Europe hosted in Barcelona last week. On Wednesday, Luca Cassetti will be joining the Summit of our national association BeCommerce that focuses on how to revolutionize the parcel delivery market. Lastly, the Brussels team is preparing for the release of the annual European Ecommerce Report 2017, that will take place on Monday the 26th of June.

Policy highlights of this week include:

  • Parcel delivery on the agenda of TRAN Committee meeting this week

Ecommerce Europe has drafted another statement on the draft Parcel Delivery Regulation, which takes into account a draft proposal for compromise amendments to MEP Anderson’s draft report. We are currently discussing with other EU associations interested in co-signing the statement, which will be sent out in the coming days to all relevant policymakers. Tomorrow, the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee has scheduled for 15h00 the consideration of amendments on the proposal, while the final report of MEP Anderson may be expected on 11 July.

As you may remember, Ecommerce Europe has already sent a statement to policymakers in the past weeks and prepared a toolbox for national associations to increase lobbying activities at national level. 

  • Update on draft ePrivacy Regulation        

MEP Marju Lauristin, Rapporteur of the LIBE Committee for the proposed ePrivacy Regulation, discussed Digital Assembly 2017 in Malta on 15 June about the draft ePrivacy Regulation.  The draft report is available here. The ePrivacy Regulation regulates the protection of the confidentiality of electronic communication in the context of telecommunication services as well as variety of online activities, such as browsing, using mobile phones, social networks or communication apps, connected devices. It also concerns unsolicited marketing communication. Rapporteur MEP Lauristin has proposed stricter privacy protection than what the European Commission proposed. An update on the content of the LIBE draft report will be sent soon to the e-Regulations Committee of Ecommerce Europe, which deals with this proposal. The Rapporteur announced that her draft report will be discussed at the LIBE Committee meeting of 21 June and then further amended. The deadline for tabling amendments is 5 July. Ecommerce Europe already sent a detailed statement on the draft ePrivacy regulation to all relevant policymakers and is starting soon to meet with them. 

 

Summary: 09.06.2017 r.

This week, the Brussels team is attending some interesting meetings and events. Today, Léon Mölenberg will attend another meeting of the Stakeholder Consultation Group for the Fitness Check of EU Consumer and marketing law. The Commission will give a brief update, followed by an exchange of views, on the Fitness Check and the CRD evaluation. Tomorrow, Léon will be at EuroCommerce for stakeholder meetings on regulatory issues. However, the Brussels team is this week mainly busy with the last preparations for the Global E-commerce Summitwhich will take place on 12-14 June 2017 at the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I, Barcelona

  • European Commission changes to European Banking Authority’s draft RTS on Strong Customer Authentication published

On 1 June, the European Banking Authority published the European Commission’s changes to its draft RTS on Strong Customer Authentication. Overall, the Commission’s proposed changes have primarily been in the area of interfaces and PSP access to account data. Ecommerce Europe, over the coming days, will come up with revised lobbying strategy for the European and the national level.

The most relevant exemptions from SCA for Ecommerce Europe are:

  • Trusted beneficiaries (Art. 13)

Payment Service Providers are exempted from having to apply SCA when the customer initiates a transaction and when the merchant has been listed, by the customer with his bank, in a previously created list of trusted beneficiaries. When the customer first creates or amends the list, SCA will have to be applied. 

  • Recurring Payments (Art. 14)

For recurring payments, SCA will apply whenever a customer creates, amends or initiates for the first time a series of recurring transactions with the same amount and the same online merchant. Payment Service Providers are exempted from SCA for all other payments in the series, given that the amount and the merchant are the same.

  • Low value transactions (Art. 16)

The €30 threshold for the exemption from SCA remains in place. Customers will have to undergo SCA, when 1) the cumulative amount of previous transactions since the last application of SCA exceeds €100 and/or 2) the customer has undertaken more than 5 transactions since the last application of SCA. 

  • Secure corporate payments (Art. 17) NEW

Corporate payments are exempted from the application of SCA as long as they are initiated through dedicated corporate payment processes or protocols where the competent national authorities are satisfied with their compliance of security standards. 

  • Transaction risk analysis (Art. 18)

The Commission has not made any changes to the exemption of SCA based on transactional risk analysis with the Reference fraud rate percentagesfor the monetary thresholds of €100, €250 and €500 unchanged.

The Commission’s proposed changes to the draft RTS are now with the EBA for opinion and are expected to be forwarded to the European Parliament and Council by September. Both the Parliament and Council have up to 3 months to scrutinize the draft RTS and can only accept or reject the draft RTS. 

  •  Exchange of views at the EU Parliament’s LIBE Committee on ePrivacy

On 8 June, the EP LIBE Committee will have an exchange of views on the Proposal for a Regulation on ePrivacy. In view of the LIBE meeting, Ecommerce Europe prepared a written statement with our position on this proposal, based on the feedback received by our members. Currently, the e-Regulations Working Committee is assessing the final version of the text, which will be sent by the Brussels team before the EP meeting. It seems that the Rapporteur, MEP Lauristin, still maintains her objective of producing her draft report by the end of this month, with deadline for amendments to the report by 5 July. The adoption by the LIBE Committee could be expected in October (tbc).

  •  Ecommerce Europe published update Manifesto on Parcel Delivery

Ecommerce Europe has recently published an updated version of its Manifesto on how to innovate the cross-border parcel delivery market. On 9 June, the TTE Council will discuss about the proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services and Ministers will tentatively try to reach a general approach on the text. In view of this discussion, the Brussels team prepared a toolbox for national associations which gives them instructions on the actions they should undertake to lobby at national level. From our side, we are reaching out all Permanent Representations to the EU in Brussels, to share our concerns and position on the draft regulation. We will monitor the meeting of the Council on 9 June and will report back to you accordingly.

  •  Global E-commerce Summit 2017: Member registration still open!

Ecommerce Europe Company Members, Business Partners and Associative Partners have some time ago received an e-mail linking to a dedicated online portal for registration to the Global E-commerce Summit 2017 (12-14 June). Ecommerce Europe Company Members qualify for 1 complementary ticket, Ecommerce Europe Company Members PLUS qualify for 2 complementary tickets; Ecommerce Europe Business Partners qualify for 2 complementary tickets; Ecommerce Europe Associative Partners qualify for 1 complementary ticket; and Ecommerce Europe Associative Partners PLUS qualify for 2 complementary tickets. As the Summit is coming closer as we speak, we would like to urge you to complete your registration as soon as possible. Confirmation of your registration will be dependent upon membership status. If you have not done so already, Ecommerce Europe would like to invite its Members to register, to make full use of their Membership packages. 

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