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Retail and wholesale press for progress on better online tools for SMEs

23 November 2017
by EuroCommerce -- last modified 23 November 2017

Speaking today at the European Parliament’s SME Intergroup, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren pressed for the European Parliament and Council to accelerate progress on the proposal for a Single Digital Gateway to provide information, assistance and problem- solving services.


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Verschueren said: "The Commission proposal on the Single Digital Gateway is an important step forward in helping businesses to have easy access to information on EU and national rules governing the Single Market. The existing sources of information are simply not well enough known or do not perform as should be expected. The Single Digital Gateway is a major chance for Europe to improve cross-border trade and make it easier for citizens to explore the opportunities the internal market has to offer."

In past decades, a large number of national and EU contact points have been developed to assist businesses and citizens to find the information needed to do business in another Member State and meet their legal obligations. These have already helped many traders to set up in business and know their rights. But the quality of these can vary: the information is often scattered, incomplete or not easy to understand; some contact points are also not very responsive. This is reflected in a number of studies conducted by the European Parliament and European Commission. To further improve the proposal, EuroCommerce has suggested that the Commission should be able to act more decisively when a national tool is not compliant with the quality criteria set out in the regulation, and that national stakeholders should have more opportunity to input experiences and ideas for improvement to their national coordinators.

Verschueren added:

"Lack of awareness and understanding about legal requirements in other countries means that retailers and wholesalers, particularly SMEs, often do not have the confidence to trade across borders. The information is often already there, but not easily accessible or complete. Businesses need practical answers to daily problems and questions they face while doing business and serving their customers. The Single Digital Gateway should help them do so."

EuroCommerce is the voice for six million retail, wholesale, and other trading companies. Its members include national commerce federations in 31 countries, Europe's 27 leading retail and wholesale companies, and federations representing specific sectors of commerce.

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