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A European Initiative in
Electronic Commerce

Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions
COM(97)157

Preface
Executive Summary
Introduction
I - The Electronic Commerce Revolution
II - Ensuring Access to the Global Marketplace
III - Creating a Favourable Regulatory Framework
IV - Promoting a Favourable Business Environment
CONCLUSIONS

Conclusions

i. This Communication presents the European Initiative in Electronic Commerce as a set of action-oriented proposals for advancing electronic commerce in Europe. These proposals address access to the global marketplace, legal and regulatory issues, and promoting a favourable business environment. Some of them are already included in the Rolling Action Plan for the Information Society, others are new and require an update. Their implementation will involve close consultation with the relevant industry sectors and involve all relevant policy domains. Coherence between technological, regulatory and support actions is an essential element of the approach advocated by this Initiative. With this Initiative the Commission also issues an invitation to all parties involved to engage in a public dialogue about the development and take-up of electronic commerce in Europe.

ii. To implement this European Initiative in Electronic Commerce the Commission plans to undertake the following key actions, which should be completed by the year 2000 with a mid-term review (actions which are not yet included in the current Information Society Action Plan are marked *):

Ensuring access to the global marketplace:
infrastructure, technology and services

Ensure full implementation of the telecommunications liberalisation package by Member States
by 1.1.98
Promote full implementation of WTO basic telecommunications agreement by its signatories
by 1.1.98
Implement the ITA and MRA Agreements for the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers on IT products
ongoing*
Promote active involvement of Europe's industry and public bodies in the evolution of the Internet and the provision of high bandwidth infrastructure through the R&D and TEN-TELECOM programmes.
97*
Implement thematic call on electronic commerce in the Esprit R&D programme; further focus appropriate R&D programmes
15 March 97- end 98*
Launch Fifth Framework Programme with electronic commerce as a priority for technology development and take-up
ongoing
Adopt Communication on a European standardisation initiative for electronic commerce (with action plan)
July 97
Launch a specific action on standardisation projects for electronic commerce
June 97*
Organise global standardisation conference, Brussels, 1-3 October 97
October 97
Launch specific actions for international cooperation in CEEC, MED, G7 Global Marketplace for SMEs within the EU R&D programmes
97*

Creating a favourable regulatory framework

Identify Single Market barriers and legal uncertainties affecting electronic commerce
ongoing
Launch regulatory initiatives in the area of electronic payments*, contracts negotiated at a distance for financial services*, copyright and neighbouring rights, legal protection of conditional access services and digital signatures
end 1997*


Assess the need for further initiatives covering Single Market horizontal questions, regulated professions, commercial communications, contract law, accountancy, fraudulent use of electronic payments, data security, data protection, industrial property, direct and indirect taxation and public procurement
ongoing*
Reinforce international dialogue in the appropriate multilateral and bilateral forums to achieve an adequate global regulatory framework for electronic commerce, in particular in data security, data protection, intellectual property rights, and taxation
ongoing
Organise with the German Government the Ministerial Conference on Global Information Networks, Bonn, 6-8 July 97
July 97*

Promoting a favourable business environment

Adopt Communication on consumer dimension of Information Society, including promotion of consumer access to electronic commerce
June 97
Promote electronic commerce awareness and best practice actions, by implementing a specific Euro-Info-Centres initiative, launching a Euromanagement programme and setting up a European co-ordination structure for electronic commerce use in the tourism sector, as well as through promotion of the Euro for SMEs.
End 97*
Intensify support for and launch new best-practice pilots, large-scale awareness activities, take-up actions using ICT R&D, innovation and standardisation programmes and Structural Funds
Sept 97*
Present an action plan on stimulating the development of electronic procurement
end 97*
Present Guidelines and measures addressing interoperability issues related to public administrations in IDA
Sept 97*
Present Action Plan for Commission to become leading user of electronic commerce
end 97*
Learning and training initiatives for electronic commerce in programmes such as Leonardo and Socrates
1997
Stimulate public dialogue on electronic commerce in Europe, including establishment of a dedicated website
April 1997*

iii. The Commission invites the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions to discuss the issues involved and to give their political support to this European Initiative in Electronic Commerce.


Preface
Executive Summary
Introduction
I - The Electronic Commerce Revolution
II - Ensuring Access to the Global Marketplace
III - Creating a Favourable Regulatory Framework
IV - Promoting a Favourable Business Environment
CONCLUSIONS


This document is located at /esprit/src/ecomcomc.htm
It was last updated on 16 April 1997 by (E-mail removed)