EU to break down national retail barriers

The European Commission is moving to break down national borders in online retailing in a bid to allow consumers to take advantage of prices offered by companies in different countries.

It is understood that Meglena Kuneva, European Union consumer protection commissioner, will announce the strategy today as she announces separate EU legislation on simplifying rules governing online and High Street transactions.

The new rules aim to introduce a single set of rights and obligations, which will cover returns and guarantees, that will make it easier for consumers to buy and sell products across borders, as well as bringing down costs.

As part of Kuneva’s campaign on online retail, it is reported that she is planning “an assault” on companies which vary their online prices across the EU, but restrict consumers to buying goods off their national website. It is thought she may name companies when she announces the plans later.

The move is in line with Brussels’s view that online retail could be a helpful tool to developing a single market and even out price differences between countries.

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