The European Union and E-Commerce
EU Regulation of E-Commerce. A Commentary Elgar Commentaries series, 2017, p. 1-14.
18 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2017 Last revised: 23 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2017
The European Union has a long history of investment in, encouragement for, and development of, electronic commerce and for more than 20 years has established a strong, and mostly coherent, regulatory framework for the e-commerce sector. We can date the EU’s interest in e-commerce to at least the November 1996 Communication from the Commission Putting Services to Work. However that early interest from the Commission took a while to infiltrate further into EU institutions. In April 1997 the European Commission took forward the Putting Services to Work Communication and issued their now well-known initiative “A European Initiative on Electronic Commerce”. For the first time the Commission stated its intent to: “encourage the vigorous growth”, recognized the “fundamental importance of electronic commerce in Europe”, and envisioned for the European Union to become “the heartland of electronic commerce”. These undeniably high expectations have not all been realized.
Against the backdrop of this fluid and dynamic economic, social and regulatory framework lawyers, both in practice and in academia, are often asked to explain the regulatory framework. In such a complex and fast moving arena asking any one lawyer to remain informed of the entire legal-regulatory framework seems unreasonable. For this reason we asked a series of contributors to each contribute a chapter within their area of expertise to provide an invaluable single resource for lawyers, academics, students and businesses both already within and entering the European e-commerce marketplace. Following on from this introductory chapter, the most important EU initiatives relevant to e-commerce are discussed.
As with all Internet law related topics global regulations are ideal, but difficult to realize. This may change over time as more digital natives take positions in lawmaking and regulatory enforcement bodies. This though is still some way off and therefore for the moment we keep our focus on the European Union, but maybe one day the classic approach to state sovereignty and jurisdiction in relation to e-commerce will be replaced by a globally oriented approach.
Keywords: e-commerce,European Union, digital markets
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