Armed with Commerce 3.0: EU Commissioner Reding set on simplifying cross-border business

On 27 November, eBay was part of an expert panel in the European Parliament, Brussels, discussing a proposed pan-EU sales law. Vivian Reding, vice-president of the European Commission, made the case for her proposal: she wants to offer businesses that look to expand across the EU the option to do so based on one sales law – not 27 different ones.

As the sole business representative, Hanne Melin of eBay Inc.’s Government Relations team expressed her support for the type of legislative innovation Commissioner Reding is championing with her optional instrument. While it’s never been as easy as it is today to connect cross-border, the administrative and legal issues associated with the actual transaction have never been so visible. And those issues include differing legal obligations (see our other policy recommendations for bridging the gap).

Melin argued that the optional EU sales law could become that much needed legal platform, based on which it would be possible to develop the type of tools and solutions that would actually make the internal market seamless for EU citizens and businesses. We need to be creative, thinking beyond merely offering businesses standard contracts: flexible, effort-based legal provisions should be coupled with, e.g., services, applications, tutorials, screen templates, etc., developed in cooperation between the lawmakers and industry. We already notice small steps in a more practically-oriented direction – here’s one example.

Commerce 3.0 is all about seamless, frictionless transactions anywhere and on any device. Commissioner Reding’s ambition with the proposed law (called Common European Sales Law) supports that vision by seeking to reduce some of the legal hassle and costs associated with expanding across borders.