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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 29 November 2012

Commission launches consultation on integrated parcel delivery market to boost e-commerce in the EU

For many e-commerce businesses, the weeks leading up to Christmas represent one of the peak periods of the year for sales. However, a number of them are missing out on potential business because of concerns about delivery. Studies show that only 9% of EU consumers buy goods online from other countries, with both e-retailers and consumers expressing their concerns about the shortcomings of current delivery systems used for goods ordered on line. 57% of e-retailers consider cross-border delivery to be an obstacle to trading, while 47% of consumers worry about delivery in cross-border transactions. An efficient delivery (and return) system is key to facilitating further growth in e-commerce and therefore consumer choice and convenience.

There is an urgent need to address delivery concerns and improve delivery systems. This is why the Commission has today adopted a Green Paper consultation on the delivery of parcels, with special emphasis on cross-border issues and e-commerce needs.

"This Green Paper consultation will help identify the right measures to improve parcel delivery in the single market," said Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. "A flexible and well-performing EU-wide delivery system focusing on the expectations of consumers and specific needs of e-commerce will contribute directly to the enormous potential of e-commerce for boosting growth and creating jobs."

Key elements of the Green Paper:

Three priority areas have been identified to address the problems and challenges faced by consumers and e-retailers in the EU:

  • Improving convenience of delivery services for consumers and SMEs across the EU;

  • Ensuring more cost-effective delivery solutions and better prices for consumers and SMEs;

  • Promoting improved interoperability of delivery services between operators (better partnerships and cooperation), and between operators and e-retailers, notably SMEs.

With this Green Paper, the Commission will collect information on the current state of the delivery market for products bought online, and identify any potential hurdles for the creation of an EU-wide integrated parcel delivery market. It will seek stakeholders' views on how best to serve the interests of customers, businesses and end-consumers. On the basis of the information collected, the Commission will identify solutions to help develop a seamless parcel delivery process in the EU in order to support the growth of e-commerce, and ensure that the benefits of e-commerce are accessible to all citizens and SMEs across all regions in Europe via a sustainable and well-functioning delivery system.


This consultation forms part of the Commission's on-going work on e-commerce development. E-commerce is widely acknowledged as a key contributor to economic growth and increasing employment levels across the European Union. The Commission's Communication on e-commerce and online services of January this year (see IP/12/10) identifies delivery as one of the top five priorities to boost e-commerce by 2015 and its importance has been reiterated by the European Council and Parliament. Delivery is critical as it has a substantial impact on facilitating e-commerce and is a key element for building trust between sellers and buyers.

Stakeholders are invited to respond to the consultation before 15 February 2013.

See also MEMO/12/923

More information

Link to the consultation:

Further information on the postal market:

e-Commerce communication:

Video illustrating problems faced by e-retailer:

Contacts :

Stefaan De Rynck (+32 2 296 34 21)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)

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