Monday, December 01, 2003

Europe is not acting European

Today, the Consumer Protection Directorate issued a press release which explains:

Cross-border business-to-consumer sales have stagnated in the EU despite large price divergences. A Eurobarometer poll published today shows that consumers are not confident enough to shop cross-border. Only 12% of EU citizens have actually bought any goods or services across borders over the last twelve months. "A competitive European economy needs consumers who are willing to shop across national borders. This poll confirms the need to continue to strengthen the EU's consumer policy." said Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne.

Basically, this shows that people shop and buy in the country were they live, or where they travel through. And no European Commission policy may be able to change that. It's a similar misconception as the one about the single payment area. It's not the creation of a single payments area that makes a consumer pay internationally, it's the other way around. As soon as consumers are paying internationally, there is a single payments area. But it may take some 10 more years for policy makers to acknowledge that.