Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Raise of the online cross-border transactions

The European Commission's works on the Optional Instrument that it supposed to further harmonize European Contract Law are progressing rapidly (see: Contract law - work in progress). We are awaiting the final draft of the Optional Instrument to be published this autumn. One of the main reasons that is being given as a justification for the need for the Optional Instrument is that it would lead to strengthening of the internal market. Consumers would gain more confidence as to their rights and the scope of the protection that they may expect when they conclude online transactions with businesses from other Member States than their own, which would increase the amount of these transactions. It is interesting to mention then that the number of such transactions being concluded is raising rapidly without the Optional Instrument being implemented, too. Research shows that e.g. the number of EU consumers buying goods and services online doubled to 40% compared to 20% in 2005. Many of these transactions are cross-border (see: Online shopping doubles in five years). That makes one wonder whether we should not leave the market to further develop on its own, without introducing further harmonization measures.

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