Call for Papers by the e-Business W@tch Virtual Academy: Analysing the economic impact of electronic business

The e-Business W@tch is inviting researchers, academics and students to use data and information it has gathered through representative enterprise surveys in Europe to carry out empirical studies on the economic impacts of ICT and e-business use in enterprises. Special emphasis is placed on the implications for small and medium sized enterprises with less than 250 employees (SMEs). For this purpose, the e-Business W@tch provides all interested persons with access to its e-business databases.


A selected number of these papers will be presented in the e-Business W@tch annual publications, workshops and website, while a special award is also foreseen for the best student paper.

Papers can be submitted at any time, on a continuous submission scheme. The first deadline after which evaluation of proposals received will take place is 15th April 2004.


Download: Terms of Reference (MS Word *.doc / Acrobat *.pdf)


New: Textile industries, crafts and trade. A brief introduction to the 10 sectors analysed in 2003/04

During its first phase in 2002/03, the e-Business W@tch covered fifteen sectors of the economy, seven from manufacturing industries and eight from service industries, including the two financial services sectors. The definition of these sectors was based on NACE Rev. 1 Divisions and Groups. The aggregation of NACE categories into sectors, which constituted the major unit of observation for the e-Business W@tch, partly followed aggregations which are also used by the "Panorama of European Businesses" publication of Eurostat.


In the 2003/04 period, 10 sectors of the economy will be in the focus of the e-Business W@tch, for all tasks including primary information capture, in-depth analysis and sector-specific publications. As in the first phase, the selection was primarily guided by the aim of producing results relevant to tracking the dynamics of the economy as a whole as well as with the intention of covering the most important features of e-business provision and adoption in Europe. While eight sectors will be continued from the first phase, there are two new sectors as well: the textile, leather and footware industries, and - with special attention on e-business in micro-enterprises - the crafts & trade sectors.


Link: Short portrait of the 10 sectors covered in 2003/04


Digital divide or integration in Europe: Workshop on Electronic Business in the EU, the Acceding Countries and the EEA, Brussels, 10th December.

With the EU enlargement taking place in May 2004, the single European market will increase by about 75 million people. Except for Cyprus and Malta, the economies of the prospective Member States are in a transitional state. More than half of their foreign trade is already with the current EU countries. By joining the single European market, companies from the new member states will operate on an increasingly international market place. In this context, the use of ICT for electronic business can become an important factor for the economic integration of the new members of the European Union.


This workshop explored the current state of development of e-business in the Acceding Countries and compare it to the situation in the EU and EEA states. The first session presented recent statistics about the diffusion of ICT and e-business in companies from EU, EEA and Acceding Countries, based on the e-Business Survey from October 2003, and assessed the digital divide between various regions and sectors in Europe. The second part features an overview of ongoing initiatives and innovative approaches in Europe to measure the digital economy. The objective of the event was to discuss implications, opportunities and risks which e-business may pose to the European integration.


Chair: Mr. Reinhard Büscher, Head of Unit, EC, Enterprise Directorate General


Address by Mr. Pedro Ortun, Director, European Commission, DG Enterprise, Directorate D Services, tourism, new technologies and design industries


Speakers: Mr. Jiri Svoboda, NFO AISA (CZ); Mr. Przemyslaw Surma, Darex SA, Poland; Andras Nemeslaki, Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, Mr. Vasja Vehovar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Mr. Dusan Soltes, Faculty of Management Comenius University Bratislava; Mr. Andres Agasild, MARK IT, Estonia; Mr. Hartmut Buchow, Eurostat; Mr. Ken Ducatel, EC, DG Infoso; Mr. Pavle Sicherl, SICENTER (SIovenia); Mr. Hannes Selhofer, empirica GmbH (Germany).


Time and place: 10th December 2003, 9:30 - 16:30 hrs., Brussels.


Programme (*.pdf, 159 kb)

Summary and conclusions (*.pdf, 164 kb)


Further information & registration:
e-Business W@tch
c/o empirica GmbH
Mr. Hannes Selhofer
Tel. 0049-228-98530-36


Workshop on Standards for Electronic Business at IDATE Conference, Montpellier, 19th November 2003.

In the context of the IDATE International Conference 2003, IDATE - one of the new partners of the e-Business W@tch team - organised the first workshop of the e-Business W@tch in France. The Workshop dealt with e-business standardisation issues, and particularly the importance and impact on two sectors: ICT Services and the Manufacture of Electronics and Electrical Machinery. The workshop gathered at a roundtable standardisation institutions, industrial and service companies and experts to discuss key issues of standards and promote their interoperability.


Chair: Mr. Philippe Mathonnet, Senior Consultant, IDATE


Speakers: Mr. Georgios Karageorgos, EC, Enterprise Directorate General; Mr. Henry Ryan, expert for standardisation, Lios Geal Consultants; Mr. Philipp Koellinger, e-Business Consultant, DIW Berlin; Ms. Barbara Gatti, CEN/ISSS; Mr. Hans Flemming Stern-Peltz, Implementation Support Manager for EMEA, RosettaNet.


Time and place: 19th November 2003, 14:00 - 18:00 hrs., Montpellier, IDATE Conference venue (see:


Summary and conclusions (*.pdf, 149 kb)


Further information:
Mr. Philippe Mathonnet
Tel. 0033 467 144 432



Commission launches consultation on legal problems for enterprises doing e-business

The European Commission has launched an eight-week Internet consultation on legal barriers that enterprises still encounter when using electronic commerce and other electronic business applications. Such problems could arise, for example, from divergent national legal provisions for electronic invoicing or from a different legal treatment of online and offline business. The Commission would be interested to learn more about remaining practical reasons for not doing business electronically. This consultation is open to all enterprises until 17 November 2003. The results of this consultation will be presented and further discussed at a conference in March/April 2004 in Brussels.

Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said: "The EU legal framework for e-business is well and widely established. It's now time to take stock of remaining barriers and decide how to remove them. This discussion should be based on practical examples and experience, not just on theoretical views of what may go wrong."

The consultation on legal barriers in e-business is addressed to enterprises taking part in e-business and experienced in doing business online. Business associations, chambers of commerce and other interested parties are invited to inform their members about the consultation and to provide the Commission by e-mail - with their general opinion on the existing legal framework for e-business in the European Union and the Acceding Countries. All comments will be duly taken into account, in assessing what has been achieved so far and in which areas further progress is still needed to establish a favourable environment for e-business in Europe.

Stakeholders are invited to consult the questionnaire at the following web page:

This quick and user-friendly questionnaire uses the Commission's Interactive Policy Making (IPM) tool (see IP/01/519), which aims to improve governance by using the Internet for collecting and analysing reactions. A summary of the replies will be published in January 2004.

In addition, general comments can be sent to:

[email protected]

All comments received will be published on the Commission's web site:


Sector Impact Studies with brand-new data from the recent e-Business Survey (March 2003)

The e-Business W@tch has published a new series of Sector Impact Studies on the following sectors:
No. 1-III: Food, beverages & tobacco industry
No. 2-III: The chemical industries
No. 3-III: Transport equipment manufacturing
No. 6-III: ICT services
No. 11-II: Electrical machinery and electronics
No. 12-III: Retail
No. 13-II: Tourism


The full reports as well as newsletters summarising the main findings (6 pages each) can be downloaded from the publications section of this website.

This series of reports includes for the first time data from the recent e-Business Decision Maker Survey, carried out in March 2003. The survey covered more than 3500 enterprises from the seven sectors.

Workshop on B2B Internet trading platforms -
10th June 2003, Brussels

The main objective of this workshop was to discuss, on the basis of the draft report of an Experts Group established by Directorate General Enterprise on this matter, the state of play of B2B Internet trading platforms in Europe. Representatives of industrial associations who participated in the Experts Group and other e-business specialists discussed the specific problems encountered by SMEs when they participate in these new electronic forms of trading between enterprises and ways to address these problems.

For further information, including the results of the workshop and the final report of the Experts Group, see

The European e-Business Report 2002/03: A comprehensive portrait of e-business in 15 sectors of the EU economy

The e-Business W@tch has published the first comprehensive survey of European firms' successes and failures in using information and communication technology to transform their business processes. The European e-Business Report (2002/03 edition), a 230-page summary of the already published sector-specific impact studies, assesses the maturity and economic impact of e-commerce (buying and selling) and e-business (all business processes) in 15 sectors of the EU economy. Each sector's e-business performance is profiled against the industry average and specific policy issues are described in each case.

Printed copies will soon be available. The electronic version can be downloaded from the "publications" section of the website, as well as a 30 pages summary of the report.


The European e-Business Report - 2002/2003 edition. A portrait of e-business in 15 sectors of the EU economy - 1st Synthesis Report of the e-Business W@tch. 230 pages. ISBN 92-894-5118-1.


For further information or to request single copies, contact:

European Commission
Enterprise Directorate-General
e-Business, ICT Industries and Services.
Fax: (32-2) 2967019
Mail: [email protected]


NEW: Pocketbook of e-business indicators (2002/03 edition)

The e-Business W@tch has published a "Pocketbook of e-business indicators". It presents on 60 pages key figures on the diffusion of ICT and e-business activities in EU enterprises from 15 sectors of the economy. Statistics are based on a decision maker survey among 9264 enterprises, carried out in July 2002. Printed copies will soon be available, the electronic version can be downloaded from the "publications" section of the website.


A pocketbook of e-business indicators. 2002/2003 edition. 60 pages. ISBN 92-894-5117-3.


For further information or to request copies, contact:
European Commission
Enterprise Directorate-General
e-Business, ICT Industries and Services.
Fax: (32-2) 2967019
Mail: [email protected]

2nd issue of e-business reports on 7 sectors of the economy

The e-Business W@tch has published the second series of reports on the following sectors:
No. 1-II: Food, beverages & tobacco industry
No. 2-II: The chemical industries
No. 3-II: Transport equipment manufacturing
No. 4-II: Banking
No. 5-II: Insurance and pension funding services
No. 6-II: ICT services
No. 7-II: Health and social services

The full reports as well as newsletters summarising the main findings (6 pages) can be downloaded from the publications section of this website.

This series of reports focuses on the statistical picture, benchmarking the diffusion of ICT infrastructure and their application for electronic business activities in the respective sectors. The first issue of reports on these sectors published in July 2002 analyses the economic background and general role of ICT and e-business in the respective sector.

The following updated and expanded issues of e-Business Sector Reports will become available in April/May 2003:

No. 08-II: Media and printing
No. 09-II: Manufacture of metal products
No. 10-II: Machinery and equipment manufacturing
No. 14-II: Real estate services
No. 15-II: Business services

Results of the European e-Business Survey 2002 online:

In June and July 2002, the e-Business W@tch asked more than 9,000 companies in all EU Member States about their current usage of ICT and electronic business applications and about the impact of their "e-activities" on business processes. The results of this empirical survey are now available online at the "database" section of this website.

The collection of statistics offered is a unique and up-to-date portrait of the current practice in electronic business in Europe. Indicators are broken down by business activity, comparing 15 sectors of the economy, and by size-class, clearly showing where SMEs have already closed the gap to the large enterprises and where they still face competitive disadvantages with respect to e-business. This vast amount of primary data on e-business provides the industry, policy and research communities with a great resource to support their own work in all e-business matters.

The field work of this enterprise survey was carried out in June and July 2002 by INRA Germany in co-operation with its international partner organisations using computer-aided telephone interview (CATI) technology. The choice of indicators includes a basic set of widely accepted measures for e-commerce and e-business (e.g. as used in the ongoing surveys on e-commerce conducted by Eurostat), but also introduces a few innovative indicators which have a pilot character and are not yet widely tested.

Your feed-back on the usability of the statistics offered and suggestions are most welcome. Please send all questions and comments to [email protected].

7 e-Business Sector Impact Studies available:

The e-Business W@tch has published the first series of Sector Impact Studies. They can be downloaded from the "publications" section of this website. Newsletters summarising the main findings (6 pages each) are also available. Reports analyse the usage and impact of electronic business in the following sector of the economy:

Report No. 1: Food, beverages & tobacco industry

Report No. 2: The chemical industries

Report No. 3: Transport equipment manufacturing

Report No. 4: Banking

Report No. 5: Insurance and pension funding services

Report No. 6: ICT services

Report No. 7: Health and social services

More Sector Impact Studies about further eight sectors will become available by mid November.

The reports provide a profile of the sector, including recent trends and challenges, and analyse the specific role of ICT and electronic business in the sector and the impact of e-business. Results clearly demonstrate and prove that the extent and nature of e-business developments in Europe differs widely across the sectors analysed. A sectoral perspective is therefore required In order to properly assess the economic and policy implications of electronic business.

Your feed-back on the reports and suggestions are most welcome. Please send all questions and comments to [email protected].

The results of the Community e-commerce pilot survey 2001 are now available for download at
DG Enterprise is supporting Eurostat and the National Statistical Offices to develop and carry out regular data collection in the area of e-commerce. This work has been aided by the ongoing methodological work of OECD, which was mandated in 1998 by OECD Ministers (Ottawa Ministerial on E-Commerce) to define and measure e-commerce. In a first step of EU survey, an inventory of available surveys/needed indicators was set out, targeting the measurement of the ICT technologies penetration in Europe. The questionnaire was finalised at the end of November 2000. Eurostat and the statistical offices of 13 Member States have conducted this pilot e-commerce survey in 2001, with total gross sample size of about 100,000 enterprises.

A summary of main findings is available in an edition of Statistics in Focus: "E-commerce in Europe" (11 April 2002). This summary as well as a number of other resources can be downloaded from

Community e-commerce pilot survey 2002

All 15 Member States will participate in to the survey 2002, cofinanced by Enterprise DG and Eurostat. In addition several Candidate countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Poland) intend to carry out pilot surveys in 2002 based on the Eurostat questionnaire.

Contact :
European Commission
Enterprise Directorate General
Unit D4: E-business, ICT industries and services
B-1049 Brussels
fax: +32 2 296 70 19
E-mail: [email protected]

15 Industry Sectors in Profile: Economic background, ICT & e-business.

The e-Business W@tch monitors and assesses the use of ICT and e-business in fifteen sectors of the economy, seven from manufacturing industries and eight from service industries. This report (126 pages) presents the selected sectors. First, a short economic profile and the focus of analysis is given for each sector, including key macro-economic data. Second, an initial assessment of the role of ICT and e-business in the sector is presented, mainly focusing on trends, opportunities and threats. Finally, the report lists European industry associations for each sector. The following sectors are presented:

  1. 1. Food, beverages and tobacco
  2. 2. Publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media
  3. 3. Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products
  4. 4. Manufacture of metal products
  5. 5. Manufacture of machinery and equipment
  6. 6. Manufacture of electrical machinery and electronics
  7. 7. Manufacture of transport equipment
  8. 8. Retail
  9. 9. Tourism
  10. 10. Credit Institutions, investment firms, leasing enterprises
  11. 11. Insurance and pension funding services
  12. 12. Real estate activities
  13. 13. (Other) Business Services
  14. 14. Telecommunications, computer related and audio-visual services
  15. 15. Health and social work

The forthcoming Sector Reports will be much more detailed, elaborating on this initial introduction. A publication schedule is included in the introductory chapter of this report.

e-Business W@tch Report on the development of e-commerce in the European Union

29 May 2002
Recent high-level policy reports about e-commerce in the EU and in the United States conclude that the take-up of e-commerce has disappointed initial expectations and faces particular difficulties. This assessment is mainly based on the perceived discrepancy between the fast uptake of information and communication technologies by enterprises in general and the comparatively moderate success in using these technologies for selling and purchasing online. A pilot survey on e-commerce by the European Commission (DG Enterprise) and Eurostat finds that at the end of 2000 92% of enterprises used computers, 74% had web access and 44% their own website, but only 25% of enterprises had implemented e-purchasing processes and only 17% used e-commerce to make sales.

The e-Business W@tch has published a short report that provides a general assessment of the development of electronic business in the European Union, focusing in particular on electronic commerce. It is based on widely accepted studies, statistics and projections from commercial market research companies as well as from official statistical institutes (Eurostat, OECD). The report addresses the disappointment about the development and argues for a balanced view that takes into account the different aspects of e-commerce rather than focusing on consumer online purchases as the key indicator for drawing general conclusions. It argues that some of the target marks for electronic commerce were probably misplaced in the past, and therefore difficult if not impossible to be hit.

The second part takes a closer look at the uptake of electronic business processes by companies by making a distinction between business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) processes and finally presenting an integrating perspective where all e-transactions become part of an overall (e-)business strategy. It shows that enterprises – particularly in the more advanced regions of Europe – have been fast to "go digital" as far as taking the first steps toward doing electronic business is concerned, but that the real problem now seems to be to progress to an integrated usage of electronic business processes. The conclusion is that policy actions should focus on helping SMEs to take this step, which is increasingly recognised as the most critical success factor for a successful and sustainable application of e-commerce tools.

Kindly find the whole document in our publications section.

Go Digital Summit on 16th May 2002 in Brussels

28 March 2002

On May 16th, The "Go Digital" Summit will take place in Brussels. The event is organised by DG Enterprise and DG Information Society. The Summit will probably start at 9:30 hrs with a plenary session and have four parallel afternoon sessions on the issues of technology, entrepreneurship, awareness & skills and security.

The European Commission Communication on «Helping SMEs to Go Digital», adopted on March 13, 2001, has been an effort in order to raise awareness for the SMEs on the possibilities of e-business (under the action «promoting awareness for Going digital»).

Enterprise DG supports very actively the eEurope initiative which was endorsed by EU Member States at the Feira European Council in June 2000. In particular special reference is made in its Action Plan to SMEs and to the need to encourage them to "Go digital" through co-ordinated networking activities for the exchange of knowledge on best practices, e-commerce readiness and benchmarking, 'reference centres' could help SMEs to introduce e-commerce into their business strategies. The Action Plan identifies the SME's as critically important to the efforts aimed at bringing about eEurope, and sets specific targets to prepare them for its advent.

In this respect DG Enterprise, in collaboration with DG Information Society, Education and Culture, Regional Policy, will undertake specific GoDigital initiatives aiming at:

  • identifying the main obstacles SMEs face as they engage in e-business,
  • proposing specific actions to help SMEs "Go Digital", in particular by building on existing policies and initiatives,
  • ensuring consistency among the various policies and initiatives to support SMEs going digital at the European, national, regional and local levels, and
  • learning from practical experience and to benchmark various strategies to help SMEs to go digital.

The trust challenge - launch of an online consultation to identify best practices in enhancing trust in B2B e-marketplaces

6 March 2002

European Commission, Directorate General Enterprise, Brussels.- An online consultation to identify best practices in building and sustaining trust in business-to-business (B2B) electronic market places and gather stakeholder views on trust barriers, self-regulation and codes of conduct will be open on the European Commission's enterprise web site from now until 10 April 2002.

This consultation is a first follow-up to the recently released Commission Communication on the impact of the e-economy on European businesses, which lists the need to ensure fair trade in B2B transactions as a priority, in particular by encouraging the use of self-regulatory mechanisms. The online consultation will feed into the Commission's ongoing analysis of existing trust schemes in the field of electronic marketplaces, with a view to exploring the most appropriate ways to further promote them.

The Commission will publish the consultation findings at the beginning of May 2002. Thereafter, it intends to set up a stakeholder group of all interested parties (industrial associations, e-marketplaces, individual companies and trust operators), with a view to establishing guidelines for codes of conduct in B2B e-marketplaces.

The consultation uses the new interactive policy making (IPM) tool, which permits faster and better structured processing of stakeholders' reactions.

"Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the 'Go Digital' Communication" (Jan. 2002)

The Economic and Social Committee of the European Union has commented on the EC's Communication "Helping SMEs to 'Go Digital'". The ESC believes "e-commerce is in a critical period of its development, now that the expectations raised worldwide, and particularly in the USA, in recent years have been disappointed - abruptly in a large number of cases." It therefore welcomes the "Go Digital" initiative and takes the view that most of the "Go Digital" actions are orientated in the right direction, but announces some general and some specific comments about the actions proposed and makes a number of recommendations.
In particular, the ESC warns that "the Communication does not sufficiently reflect the urgent and pressing nature of the problems facing SMEs in connection with digital technology", and points toward "an evident risk of a widening of the technological gap which exists between European SMEs on the one hand and American and South East Asian SMEs on the other, probably with the result of excluding the European SMEs from international competition".
The ESC proposes "(a) that this Communication should be the starting-point for regular new "Go Digital" actions both by the Commission and by the Member States, (b) in line with changing needs and developments, that the timescales for the actions be shortened, (c) that actions be planned to cover all SMEs, with particular emphasis on SMEs in peripheral locations, which operate in a manifestly less favourable environment and (d) that the Member States give high priority to Go Digital actions in accordance with local needs."
The "Helping SMEs to 'Go Digital'" Action Plan is an initiative of the European Commission to co-ordinate and stimulate support programmes for SMEs that help them implementing electronic business processes. In March 2001 the Commission had consulted the Economic and Social Committee on the Communication.
The opinion of the ESC is available at: