The European Commission (EC) has announced its intention to double e-commerce sales and the internet's contribution to European GDP by 2015 in order to help drive job creation and mitigate the ongoing economic crisis.
The institution said that at present while online e-commerce sales were strong there were numerous obstacles preventing further growth including uncertainty around relevant laws, a lack of transparency around online offers and conflicting payment and delivery models.
As such, it has put forward an action plan detailing 16 key areas it wants to tackle with the aim of doubling online retail sales from 3.4 to seven per cent and internet GDP to around six per cent.
These include adopting a single strategy on cloud computing services and internet security to ensure citizens and businesses are well-protected from cyber-attacks, working with traders to educate them on their online retail obligations and developing the EU's intellectual property regime.
Vice president for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said that ensuring the internet continues to provide jobs, growth and economic stability for Europe was of vital importance.
"In the difficult circumstances facing Europe we must seize every source of activity and new jobs as a matter of urgency," she said.
"The action plan we are presenting will create new opportunities for citizens and businesses and will bring Europe much-needed growth and employment. It aims to remove the obstacles which until now have frustrated the development of Europe's internet economy."
The use of e-commerce sites such as Amazon is increasing all the time, with citizens in the UK logging on some 85 million times on one of the busiest shopping days of 2011, a few weeks before Christmas, according to research firm Experian Hitwise.
This was an 18 per cent increase on the same period in 2010, underlining the growing trend for online shopping.
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