Consumers still have doubts about the huge shopping arena into which the internet has evolved, thereby creating a barrier to the development of cross-border shopping in the EU. In 2006, only 26% of EU25 consumers were affected by online purchases. A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 45% of internet users have less confidence, when shopping online, in operators based in other EU member states than in their own country. In 2004, the European Commission identified the main problems at hand (SEC (2004) 1390), namely the security of online payments, delivery, information, reimbursements, cancellation of orders, lack of access to internet, languages or even retailers' refusal to sell online, all causing buyers to remain reluctant.Experts are even beginning to question the validity of the Commission's data given the rapid development of e-trade. They presented their findings to the European Parliament on 24 January, at a hearing initiated by Zuzana Roithova (EPP-ED, Czech Republic). The aim is to put pressure on the EU executive to relaunch the 2004 initiative, without limiting it to consumer protection, electronic trade or obstacles to the Single Market. "Projects should also be coordinated in areas such as electronic payment services, protection of privacy and e-inclusion," the MEP notes in her working paper. Ms Roithova will submit heir own-initiative report to the Internal Market Committee in early March.


Ms Roithova is also...

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