The government has called on the European Commission to ensure that upcoming changes to the eCommerce directive are bold enough to drive continued growth in the burgeoning online retail environment.
The market is worth around £100bn to the UK economy, and Nigel Hickson, head of EU and international policy at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, told attendees at a Westminster Forum event on Tuesday that the government wants any EC proposals to strengthen the opportunities for e-commerce.
"We are looking forward to the communication that the EC will bring out later this year, and we hope it will help member states to match their rhetoric on calls for a single market with action," he said.
Hickson also argued that the EC needs to enforce provisions in the existing eCommerce directive, specifically Article 3 which was implemented to remove local legal issues when trying to access goods and services from online businesses.
"It's a crucial part, but people still don't get it right. We hear people complaining of requiring local sign-up information in some member states, but the enforcement of this issue has been pretty poor," he said.
Hickson also noted that recent debates have suggested that politicians, such as Nicholas Sarcozy, want to regulate the internet, but regulation already exists. The real issue is about ensuring a balance to enable prosperity within this regulation.
"We have got to have privacy laws, data protection laws and so forth, but we have to be careful that new principles we put in place will not mess up internet trade, or create net neutrality laws that will stifle innovation," he said.
"Leaders [of member states and the EC] need to be bold not in what they want to implement, but what they decide not to regulate."
Hickson explained that issues of broadband delivery and spectrum harmonisation also need to be considered in changes to the eCommerce directive to anticipate how the market will develop across Europe in the future.
Some parts of Atacama have not received rainfall for 500 years - but a sudden deluge of water upset the Desert's delicate biological balance
Spitzer Space Telescope could not spot Oumuamua, suggesting that it is actually pretty small
Greenland crater one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
This long-sought progenitor star was identified in an image captured by Hubble in 2007