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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 11 October 2013

Join the final Single Market Month on-line debate on e-commerce and chat with President Barroso

Monday 14 October will mark the opening of the fourth and final round of live, interactive online debates – this time on e-commerce - between citizens, businesses, organisations, and policy makers in the framework of Single Market Month. This is an opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to make proposals for the future of the EU, and to debate these proposals online, in real time, with other citizens, stakeholders, officials and leaders, and experts from all over Europe. The Commission is again taking to the web in order to involve citizens and civil society groups in its policy agenda. The online forum offers stakeholders a unique and immediate line of communication to Brussels policymakers. Throughout Single Market Month, the forum has been hosting successive debates on four themes: Jobs, Social Rights, Banks, and e-Commerce, in all 24 EU languages.

Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier said: "Buying, selling and communicating on-line brings many opportunities to businesses and consumers. However, many obstacles remain: it can be tricky for online sellers to know their duties in terms of VAT and data protection, for example. Meanwhile, online shoppers all too often find that they are redirected to the website of their country of origin where they do not have access to the same offers, or that their foreign bank card is refused at the point of payment. I invite everybody to highlight such obstacles and put forward their suggestions for improvements in the coming days. I firmly believe that ideas from the ground are a source of inspiration for us here in Brussels when it comes to identifying remaining barriers in the Single Market and where the EU has to act to make their lives easier."

The debates will run from Monday to Wednesday (14-16 October) on more than 100 policy proposals on e-commerce from 24 countries already submitted by "netizens", ranging from a proposal to allow unrestricted access to music, books and movies online across the entire European Union, to an initiative that would create a quick-reaction mechanism for cases of manufacturers, suppliers or distributors not fulfilling their obligations of delivery of goods across borders in the EU. In addition, 26 live chat sessions in 14 different languages will take place online, with speakers from civil society as well as the EU institutions. Commission President José Manuel Barroso will hold the concluding live chat of Single Market Month on 16 October.

When the four weeks of debate on the four policy areas have concluded, a televised debate gathering the threads from all these discussions will take place on 23 October, broadcast on Euronews. Five participants from the preceding four weeks of debate will be invited to this final debate with Commissioner Barnier where they will present their ideas to change Europe.


Single Market Month is taking place online on the over the course of 4 successive weeks, with a different policy theme explored each week:

  • 23-25 September, on jobs: How to find work, set up a business, or get qualifications recognised in Europe?

  • 30 September-2 October, on social rights: What social protection rights exist in the EU Single Market, in terms of pensions, healthcare, public services…?

  • 7-9 October, on banks: What more could be done to protect deposits, prevent another financial crisis, and make sure that banks invest in the real economy to foster growth?

  • 14-16 October, on e-commerce: How easy is it to sell products online, or buy them and get them delivered across borders as a customer? How protected are the data people share on social networking sites?

Single Market Month provides a unique opportunity for Europe's "netizens" to comment on, challenge, and refine new policy ideas put forward online from the ground. It offers participants a number of ways to interact with policy makers. They can:

  • vote and comment on the policy submissions of individuals, organisations and businesses,

  • question and debate with Commissioners, MEPs, EU experts and national personalities through live video chats; around 80 of these live chat sessions are scheduled during the month of debates,

  • Five participants will be invited to a final debate with Commissioner Michel Barnier on Euronews on 23 October at the European Parliament in Strasburg.

Ideas can still be submitted as of now on the online platform. Nearly 750 ideas submitted by stakeholders and individuals are published on the website . These ideas were opened for debate on 23 September for the ideas on jobs, on 30 September for the ideas on social rights, and on 7 October for the ideas on banks, and will open on 14 October for the ideas on e-commerce.

Independent moderators will summarise the results of these debates – the ideas that participants think can change Europe. They will also be written into a final report that will be published and may feed into the EU’s work of tomorrow.

More information

See also IP/13/847 (jobs), IP/13/882 (social rights) and IP/13/914 (banks).

Contacts :

Chantal Hughes (+32 2 296 44 50)

Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

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