DSE replies to Commission consultation on "Retail Regulations in a Multi-Channel Environment"

Thursday, 28 September, 2017

The European Commission has recently issued a public consultation, intended to complete a fact-finding exercise in particular on the implications of the growing importance of e-commerce and changing consumer habits for the retail sector and its regulatory framework, and the opportunities and obstacles for the integration of the EU retail market.

Direct selling retailers are facing an increasing number of trade barriers and discriminatory and protective measures that negativelly affect job creation and growth in the EU. Member States such as Czech Republic or Slovakia have already adopted local bans targeting off-premises selling. However, these restrictions seem to be expanding to other Member States such as Belgium, the UK, France or Spain, and have the potential of affecting the operations of ethical direct selling companies.

DSE replied to this consultation by (1) denouncing the limitation of the scope of a future communication on the matter to the online and off-line retail sectors, excluding the off-premises retail industry, (2) upholding fair competition and a level-playing field across all retail channels, (3) opposing the distortion of the regulatory framework at the national level, which often penalises the off-premises sector, (4) calling for a better transposition and enforcement of EU law, and (5) strongly suggesting the Commission to address direct selling operational restrictions.

The results of the public consultation are expected to feed into a communication on national regulations recommendations (retail establishment and operational restrictions), set to allow Member States to identify best practices in the retail sector. The communication is expected to be published by end of 2017.