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Two new European Commission Directives are proposed, with the objectives of increasing economic growth, boosting consumer confidence and making life easier for businesses in Cyprus. They relate to the areas of digital content, and the supply and purchase of goods. This will bring more of a level playing field to the sector through the harmonization of the important rules of contract law across the European Union (E.U.). The differences between the contract laws in the different E.U. member states have been an obstacle to trading, with only 18% of Cypriot retail businesses engaged in internet sales, which obviously excludes them from a huge potential cross border market of 70 million online customers for their goods and services. It is suggested that the opening up of these new markets will be of particular benefit to small and medium sized businesses.
Currently, only 24% of Cypriots buy online from other (E.U.) countries and this figure is lower than the E.U. average, with only 68% of households having a fixed broadband connection.
A key challenge in the digital age would be to greatly increase the uptake of broadband connection nationwide. In comparison, 95% of British people buy such items as food, holidays, flights, music and clothing from internet retailers. The Organisation for Economic Growth and Development (O.E.G.D.) puts the United Kingdom in the lead of all 34 of its member states in internet purchases, a figure which is no doubt boosted by the high proportion (84%), of households in the U.K. with a broadband connection. This reticence by the Cypriot consumer points to a lack of confidence, with only 38% of internet users shopping online, and 35% who use online banking services. The new directives bringing common contract law rules across the E.U. will help to boost consumer confidence. In addition it will widen the choice available to consumers in the wider market, bringing more competitive prices and greater choice to Cypriots . Under the proposed E.U. Directives, consumers will be afforded increased protection, whether buying goods or accessing digital products. These changes to facilitate cross border trade are estimated to create an increase in the E.U. Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P.) of €4 billion.
Sources: digital.philenews.com, www.telegraph.co.uk, www.parakiaki.com.
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