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consumer confidence

consumer confidence

12th Connect.Euranet debate on online shopping in the EU: Why not more cross-border?

2y ago
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Description

The European single market means that you can buy goods easily anywhere in the Community with a high degree of confidence. Except online. The latest Connect.Euranet debate, held on June 20 at the European Parliament, highlighted the fact that within the EU, where cross-border e-commerce ought to be easy and secure, consumers still face many problems when they go to buy online. The debate, the 12th in an ongoing series organized by the pan-European radio network Euranet, brought together students from Euranet's network of campus radio stations and members of the European Parliament. It marked the 20th anniversary of the creation of the single market ... but while celebrating a major milestone, the debate also revealed that significant problems remain. German MEP Andreas SCHWAB, representing the Group of the European People's Party, summed up the current situation: "Young people believe that Europe is one united legal framework and that they can work and buy and travel all over Europe. But when they shop online, they discover hidden barriers and can become very frustrated." He singled out unreliable delivery and insufficient consumer protection as two of the main problem areas, citing the difficulty online buyers face in pursuing complaints against vendors in other countries. Evelyne GEBHARDT, also a German MEP, from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, said that the advantages of online shopping...access to larger markets for suppliers and wider choice for consumers...must not be cancelled out by a lack of consumer confidence. Questioned by students from the Euranet Universities network including Alina Giol Anisoara (Cluj, Romania), Gloria Martinez Torrents (UNED, Spain), Jorge Antonio Silla Soller (Salamanca, Spain), Markus Mattisson (Örebrö, Sweden) and Charlotte Dreiseidler (Bonn Campus, Germany), the MEPs stressed the importance of creating an environment in which e-commerce can be done in a serious way and where consumers have enough trust to buy online across national borders. Europe, said Herr Schwab, must fight to improve confidence levels by ensuring that online buyers benefit from better certification and labeling, better standards of delivery and better consumer protection. Both MEPs emphasized the advantages of getting it right: broad choice and cheaper prices. Frau GEBHARDT summed it up: "My grandmother was not able to buy sweet peppers. Today it's normal. This is the big advantage of the internal market, an advantage that secure, trusted cross-border e-commerce can only improve." The full content of the debate can be seen on a special Euranet webpage: http://connect.euranet.eu/