Digital Economy

  back to Digital Economy main page


The Digital Economy Research Programme

The EU Digital Single Market and barriers to online services

The creation of a borderless Single Market for trade in goods, services, capital and labour has been a major objective ever since the start of the EU. This objective has been extended to online markets and the achievement of a borderless Digital Single Market has become a policy priority for the current European Commission. Although distance should in principle not play a significant role in online markets, all kinds of barriers may still hamper consumer access to online services in other countries.  The EU seeks to eliminate these barriers.

This area of research has several objectives:

  • Data collection:  In the absence of official statistics, the volume of online domestic and cross-border trade in services – both monetized and “free” online services – has to be estimated, using a variety of data sources.
  • Economic analysis:  We use econometric analysis to estimate the impact of cultural, geographical, regulatory and commercial barriers to online services delivery in the EU on the welfare of consumers and producers.
  • Policy advice:  We assist the European Commission in the design of policy measures that can contribute to reducing obstacles to online cross-border trade

So far, the research has produced a number of studies on the drivers and impediments to cross-border e-commerce in the EU, and on supply-side barriers and the macro-economic impact of cross-border e-commerce. Attention has now shifted to a wider range of online services and to possible regulatory barriers to online services delivery.


List of studies


Scientists Published Working Papers Past Projects