Head of Europe's largest employer group has criticised the European Commission for trying to implement important ecommerce legislation, that will impact on millions of consumers, without consultation.
Dirk Hudig, secretary general of the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (Unice), called for the establishment of a permanent forum to debate the issues.
He said the EU's attempts to introduce ecommerce legislation had been accompanied by, "an excessive lack of transparency, public consultation and impact assessment."
The EU needed to create a regulatory climate which was favourable for both online buyers and sellers and could not risk becoming bogged in bureaucracy by attempting to apply "old [legal] conventions to today's realities", Hudig told delegates at the Ecommerce and Jurisdiction Forum, in Brussels yesterday.
The forum was convened by UK high tech law firm Dibb Lupton Alsop (DLA), as part of a protest campaign against proposed EU legislation, which would make Internet merchants subject to the consumer protection laws of all 15 member states. (see Newswire 22 July)
Currently, retailers must only conform with trading laws in the country in which they are based and representatives of the protest lobby, argue that the EU's changes would stifle the growth of ecommerce by making it more difficult for smaller businesses to trade online. Consumers would only be inclined to buy from large companies with which they could get redress, the lobby argues.
Hudig said Unice was "overwhelming in favour" of ecommerce legislation based on the country of origin principle, whereby companies are only subject to the laws in their home state.
He called on the EU to convene a forum to allow stakeholders, including consumer groups, governments and the business community, to contribute to future ecommerce legislation.
"To get solutions which are credible and desirable [the EU] needs to work with stakeholders," Hudig said. "Cooperation is the only way forward. Artificial polarisation won't work and will guarantee failure."
Hudig said the EU should also look at establishing voluntary ecommerce codes of conduct for online businesses to follow.
"Codes of conduct should be explored because they seem to work," he said.
Boris the robot outed as man in rented robot suit
Mission will provide vital data about the performance of rocket, spacecraft, autonomous docking system and the landing system
The flight will take off from California's Mojave Air and Space Port and could happen as soon as 13th December
Earth was showered with heavy particles called muons, which could have caused mutations and cancer in animals