Past Event

E-commerce in Europe: Lessons for parcel delivery from electronic communications

Bruegel was pleased to welcome Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market. He discussed the place of parcel delivery in the DSM, and commented on research by Bruegel scholars suggesting there are useful parallels with telecommunications interconnection and roaming.

Date: May 3, 2016, 1:15 pm Innovation & Competition Policy Tags & Topics

Summary

See below for video, photos and materials.

The European Commission’s strategy for the Digital Single Market (DSM) focuses not only on digital goods and services, but also on the broader digital economy. This includes the aim to strengthen e-commerce in physical goods. Parcel delivery is important for e-commerce, but the cost of cross-border delivery within the EU is higher than distance or processing can justify. Why is this, and how can we reach lower prices?

Scott Marcus presented recent work about the opportunities which e-commerce offers Europe and the barriers created by high cross-border parcel delivery costs. Eurostat’s 2015 report indicates how firms perceive high delivery costs to be the most serious barrier to cross-border e-commerce. He claimed that there are parallels with telecommunications network interconnection and that EU-level work on cross-border parcel delivery problems is warranted. Member states should collect data. The Commission should oversee the development of consistent standards and centrally analyse the data. Marcus said there was insufficient evidence to call for major EU intervention like that seen on roaming charges.

Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip stressed that it is a problem that we still have 28 fragmented digital markets. When shopping online, cross-border consumers face many issues related to website access, payment and delivery: only 37% of all those who try will succeed. On 25 May the Commission will launch an e-commerce proposal, and parcel delivery prices are central. Cross-border parcels are about 3-5 times as expensive as in-country delivery, and the difference is difficult to explain. The market for letters is decreasing, but the universal service obligation remains. Postal operators may be trying to cover their losses with their parcel prices.

The Commission will propose an obligation to “sell like at home”, which would increase parcel delivery volumes significantly. The Commission does not want to regulate prices at the European level, but would like to have more transparency by collecting data on prices of 15 different delivery categories in each country. With more transparency, the Commission hopes to improve competition and therefore induce more affordable prices for citizens. Postal services in the European Union are doing well and are very innovative and therefore comparisons to telecoms may be incorrect.

Jean-Paul Forceville explained how the postal sector tries to cater for cross-border e-commerce. Furthermore, he highlighted how parcel delivery and telecommunications are different in terms of value chain, clientele and supply-side issues and cost structure. Therefore, regulating them in similar ways would be counterproductive. However, improved transparency could be beneficial.

Annegret Groebel brought a recent BEREC/ERGP paper to attention, which states that there is a problem which individual national regulators cannot address by themselves. The question is how to remedy this. While roaming and parcels have some parallels, there are also differences. One key difference is that for roaming, all telecom regulators had the power to address this. Not all postal regulators have the power to collect data and a first recommendation would be to empower all regulators to do so. We need transparency, comparable data and in-depth analyses to understand what causes price discrepancies. The aim is to lower barriers for smaller retailers.

Event summary by Nuria Boot, Research Assistant

VIDEO RECORDING


Event materials

Presentation | J. Scott Marcus and Georgios Petropoulos

Statement by Vice President Andrus Ansip

Guntram Wolff makes introduction

Guntram Wolff makes introduction

Wolff and Ansip

Wolff and Ansip

Speakers at Ecommerce event with Ansip

Speakers at Ecommerce event with Ansip

Schedule

May 3, 2016

12.45 - 13.15

Check-in and lunch

13.15 - 13.35

Presentation

J. Scott Marcus, Senior Fellow

13.35 - 13.50

Comments

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, European Commission

13.50 - 14.15

Panel discussion

Chair: Guntram B. Wolff, Director

Jean-Paul Forceville, Director, Regulation and Institutional and European Affairs, La Poste and Chairman of the PostEurop Management Board

Annegret Groebel, Head of Department for International Relations / Postal Regulation, Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway

14.15-14.45

Audience Q&A

14.45

End

Speakers

Andrus Ansip

Andrus Ansip

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, European Commission

Forceville IMG

Jean-Paul Forceville

Director, Regulation and Institutional and European Affairs, La Poste and Chairman of the PostEurop Management Board

Groebel IMG

Annegret Groebel

Head of Department for International Relations / Postal Regulation, Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway

Scott Marcus

J. Scott Marcus

Senior Fellow

Guntram B. Wolff

Guntram B. Wolff

Director

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Bryn Watkins

Bryn Watkins

bryn.watkins@bruegel.org +32 2 227 42 88

Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Silvia Merler

Big data and first-degree price discrimination

What’s at stake: first-degree price discrimination - or person-specific pricing, had until recently been considered a theoretical case with unlikely real-world application. Yet the increasing availability of big data could make this possible. We review recent contributions on this issue.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 20, 2017
Read article More on this topic

External Publication

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 11.25.21

The Future of the Postal Sector in a Digital World

Addresses major current problems in postal and delivery sector worldwide

By: Georgios Petropoulos and J. Scott Marcus Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 15, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Scott Marcus

How good a shield is Privacy Shield?

Privacy Shield was put in place in 2016 to ensure that transfers of personal data from the EU to the US would be in compliance with European Union privacy law, and thus permissible. The institutional framework of Privacy Shield was weak, and depended on the good will of the US administration. Recent actions by the new administration, including the famous executive order forbidding residents from 7 predominantly Muslim countries to enter the US, may have (presumably unintended) effects on Privacy Shield. To preserve the validity of Privacy Shield in European Courts, strong EU-US cooperation and potentially additional agreements may become necessary.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 7, 2017
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

Brexit and trade: what EU and WTO rules imply

Bruegel in collaboration with Leuven Centre For Global Governance Studies organizes an event at which we will discuss the options for redesigning trade relations in the post-Brexit era.

Speakers: Viktoria Dendrinou, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Petros C. Mavroidis, André Sapir and Prof. Jan Wouters Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 6, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

State Aid and Tax Rulings

When do national tax rulings violate EU state aid rules? Does the European Commission's approach raise concerns about Member State Sovereignity and what is the impact on corporate investments in Europe?

Speakers: Clemens Fuest, Damien Neven, Gert-Jan Koopman, Nicole Robins and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: February 1, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Europe’s growth champion: will Poland’s success continue?

An event at which Marcin Piatkowski will present the key messages from a book on Poland that he is writing for Oxford University Press.

Speakers: Dan Bucşa, Maria Demertzis, Alexander Lehmann, Marcin Piatkowski and Paweł Samecki Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 31, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Achieving inclusive growth: what have we learnt?

Inclusive growth has been the exception globally, and will be a greater challenge in the future. Achieving it has to be central to our agenda, but requires rethinking and reprioritisation.

Speakers: Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 26, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Why are think tanks more important now than ever before?

Video And audio recording A number of campaigns fought in 2016 would appear to have been won or lost on evidence and analysis that did not stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, the very nature of ‘factual’ information was undermined with large parts of the public unwilling to accept conventional positions on matters of global import. […]

Speakers: Matt Dann, Sophie Gaston, Dr. Corinna Hörst, Dr. Olena Prystayko and Paweł Świeboda Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 26, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

The future of EU trade policy

We are happy to welcome the European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström to Bruegel on 24 January to talk about the future of the EU's trade policy.

Speakers: David Bremmer, Cecilia Malmström and André Sapir Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 24, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Implications of the new US trade policy by the incoming president Trump

An event about the implications of Donald Trump's emerging trade agenda on global trade.

Speakers: Adam Posen, André Sapir, Guntram B. Wolff and Xiang Yu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 19, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Debt restructuring through better insolvency standards

What potential to revive European enterprises?

Speakers: Catherine Bridge Zoller, Philip Hertz, Alexander Lehmann, Sarah Paterson and Andreas Stein Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 18, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Can migration work for all in Europe?

On 9 January Bruegel together with the IMF organized a conference on migration and whether it can work for all in Europe.

Speakers: Michał Boni, Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, Maria Demertzis, Samuel Engblom, Antje Gerstein, Anna Ilyina, David Lipton, Stefano Scarpetta, Alessandra Venturini and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 9, 2017
Load more posts