Eem sd factors
6.1 Supply/Demand Factors 6.1.1 Social security insurances, policies and differences between some member states One out of six individuals in European Union has a minor or major disability which states that around 80 million people are not able to take part in the society and to upraise the economy because of some certain barriers to access to basic needs as education, transport, housing, healthcare, and technology. Between 2004 and 2007 the number of persons with disabilities increased by 9 million individuals. The European Commission and Member States are committed to removing barriers in everyday life and to improve the social and economic situation of people with disabilities and increase: i) Participation in political and public life (Article 29) Voting rights and right to stand as a candidate in the EU- parliament, municipalities. ii) Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport (Article 30) The commission encourages the sports organization to adapt sports infrastructure feasible for the disabled people, and providing training to sports monitors, ensuring equal access to sport for all pupils and especially children with disability. Copyright exception: Organizations are allowed to produce and distribute accessible format copies to print-people with disabilities without authorization of right holder. EU supports the social tourism and provides facilities to people with disabilities to go on holidays by promoting exchanges between different countries and areas, and off season tourism. iii) Equality & non-discrimination - Article 1d (5), focuses on the principle of equal treatment according to this principle there should be no direct and indirect discrimination and the institutions will make effort to prove this that the people with disabilities are treated equally and they approaching this principle. - It also focuses on the people who are employed. EP (European parliament) has a code of conduct for the employment of people with disabilities. It defines the rights of people in their working environment that focuses on discrimination issue stating that there should be no discrimination in workplace. It includes issues regarding job accommodation as a way of changing the work area which may require different strategies for them such as buying equipment, redesigning job, or adopting flexible working arrangements. - According to Equal Opportunity Strategy (2013-2016), the Council has focused to create more inclusive environment and to enhance the accessibility in this regard for the people with disabilities. It may include adaption of vehicle for person with reduced mobility and possibility of telework without being subject to any standard constraints. iv) Work & Employment EU Commission is targeting to empower people with disabilities to earn their living on the open labor market . Under Article 28(e), stating about the rights for official’s appointment. The officials will be appointed only if, inter alia, when they will be physically fit to take care the charge of their post. The EP (European parliament) has defined to major programs for the people with disabilities which include traineeship program and specific budgetary provision for the recruitment of contractual people with disabilities. The Commission, European parliament, Council, EESC and ECA have a Code of conduct rules called Code of Good Practice for the Employment and also Equal Opportunity policy which is based on skill development and providing a good working environment. Different training programs and career counseling services are provided to staff and also their accommodation to ensure the participation of staff with disability in training courses. v) Education and Training Strategies are designed by EU to encourage pupils and students with disabilities towards inclusive education and lifelong learning. - So far there are 14 European Schools in seven EU countries which are aiming to provide multilingual and multicultural education at nursery primary and secondary level. At the end of secondary level education, the students appear in exams for the European Baccalaureate which is recognized in all EU countries. - The integration of students with special needs are given great importance by the Commission. There will be given appropriate assistance to the students who require extra support in their education such as need of some special equipment in classes or other facility. - Moreover, there is school allowance for the students with disability. If the student needs to enroll a school which asks students to pay fee in this condition the student will receive a school allowance. The institution also provides the social service to these students and students may benefit from such services if needed. - EU has also focused on providing some other educational services such as child-minding services which is a training program for children with disabilities given by educators and nurses. - Different steps related to creating awareness in staff about disability are also under focus by EU. vi) Social Protection and Privacy of personal data - In case of emergency, there should be contact number available for 24 hours for persons with reduced mobility. For example, there should be 24 hours available emergency number to call fire professionals to rescue a person from building using a shortest and safest route and different steps are being taken to bring the awareness of this system. - European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) will be responsible to handle complaints from the staff member with disability related issues with processing of their personal data and to listen their opinions on issues relating to the processing of information on people with disabilities in the institutions. - The information needed by the school at times of admission or any other from the students should be deal carefully. The Article 29, focusses child data protection and highlights that some of the data contained in application forms of schools can cause discrimination which need to be avoided. vii) Health, habilitation and rehabilitation - The joint sickness insurance scheme (JSIS) policy covers the expenses of Staff in the EU institutions and their families. Other facilities such as annual check-ups which are available for all staff and a medical check-up which is provided on entry into service. - The Health insurance policy requires regular health screening examinations for serious disease for all staff members, their children and spouses. - Certain costs resulting from a disability which are not reimbursed by the health insurance, e.g. for education or specific training, care, transport, for adapting or equipping a home or car, and guide dogs for persons with a visual impairment, may be partially reimbursed through a supplementary aid for the disabled. - Some expenses can be partially reimbursed through a supplementary aid for the disabled who could not be reimbursed by the health insurance Political preferences indicate differences relates to policy tools and institutional reforms in EU countries and influence social welfare services in different countries. For instance; The Social-democratic disability policy model is broadly characterized by: i. A relatively generous and accessible compensation policy package, with largely universal benefit coverage, a low entry threshold for a partial disability benefit and generous sickness and disability benefits; and ii. a broad and equally accessible integration policy package, with particularly strong focus on vocational rehabilitation. It provides good supports for those who can and want to work, but also considerable incentives to apply for, or remain on, long-term benefits. Such policy is potentially expensive and will not necessarily result in the highest possible labor market participation. The Liberal disability policy model is characterized by a much less generous compensation policy setup compared with the other policy models, with lower benefit levels and a much higher threshold to get onto benefits, including an assessment of work capacity with regard to any job on the labor market. Absence monitoring is not well developed. Employment policies are on an intermediary level and vocational rehabilitation is, by and large, relatively underdeveloped; but work incentives are strong and benefit suspension rules very flexible. This policy setup is less expensive overall but the stronger inbuilt employment incentives resulting from less generous benefits are only partly harvested with an intermediary integration policy focus. The Corporatist disability policy model can be interpreted as intermediate, relative to the other two models. Benefits are relatively accessible and relatively generous but not at the level of the Nordic model. Similarly, employment programs are quite developed but the focus on vocational rehabilitation and supported employment is not nearly as strong as in the Nordic model. Employment and beneficiary outcomes of such a setup can be rather mixed. Outstanding system features are a relatively strong focus on own-occupation assessment in many of the countries in this group and a lower population coverage, but also limited benefit flexibility and work incentives features. The Corporatist model covers a large number of countries mostly in the south, east and west of Europe with considerable differences in their policy setup.
6.1.2 The many differences in the systems Several issues such as cultural differences (languages, consumer preferences and payment methods) as well as market failures (price and ownership forms, existence of monopolistic situations, information asymmetry and transactions costs) and a lack of trust for cross-border online transaction as well as legal barriers are fundamental. (Kurt Hübner (ed.): The New Economy in Transatlantic Perspective. Spaces of Innovation, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 106-127). Social security is an integral part of the public, family, economic and labor market structures of developed countries. The social security systems of the countries of the European Union (EU) are coordinated. However, social benefits and the conditions under which they are granted are determined at national level, depending on the traditions and culture of each country. The European law lays down, however, rules and principles to guarantee the right of free movement of persons in the EU and as a consequence of this in the area of social security, guaranteed the principle of the aggregation of all the periods of insurance, employment, self-employment or residence in the different Member States and by the principle of the export of benefits in all of the Member States where the beneficiary or the members of his or her family reside. The provisions of this Regulation apply to all the traditional branches of social security: • sickness, • maternity, • accidents at work, • occupational diseases, • old-age pensions, • survivors' benefits, • invalidity benefits, • unemployment benefits, • family benefits, • pre-retirement benefits, • death grants. There are, however, differences in national social benefits and in the amount of social protection per capita among the member states. Social health insurance has for instance, two distinct variants in Europe: the established systems of social health insurance in Western Europe following the Bismarck tradition, and the systems in the CEE countries newly established. The mature systems of Western Europe have developed over a long time, and many of the organizational features and regulatory relationships are the result of a process of adaptation to changing circumstances. Social health insurances create a larger risk pool than do private health insurances. Individuals are required to contribute part of the costs of social insurances which in some cases results in higher labor costs. In CEE countries, the process of change has been more recent, radical and rapid. The predominant attraction of social health insurance for CEE countries was the independence of the insurer from government and perceived greater responsiveness to the patient or consumer. Regional or local taxes are the main source of revenue for health care in Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden and, since 2000, in Italy. National taxes are the main source of revenue in Albania, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Some countries base also the support for the healthcare system from direct taxation or on earmarked income taxes for health contribute in France and Italy. Other countries use at least part of the tax revenue from the sale of cigarettes (indirect taxes) for health care as i.e. in Belgium and the United Kingdom. Other countries, such as Estonia and Poland, have taken a more cautious approach and have only recently made their insurance fund independent of government. The domination of health care spending in local budgets is also different in different countries. In Sweden up to 70 per cent of the most county council budgets go to support the healthcare system. National taxation allows, however, trade-offs to be made between health and other public policies. Decisions about how much should be spent on the health sector in relation to other areas of public spending are made explicitly under tax-financed systems. Social insurance systems, thus, differ in Europe. A single national health insurance fund (such as in Croatia, Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia) or a single social insurance fund (Belgium), independent funds (France) local branches of a national fund (Romania), individual health insurance funds, either occupationally or geographically defined (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania and Switzerland), or an association of insurance funds (Luxembourg). Health reform proposals in the late 1980s and 1990s in Germany and the Netherlands sought to introduce competition between insurers in social health insurance systems. The motivations behind attempts to introduce insurer competition in Germany and the Netherlands were specifically financial, including increasing the efficiency of insurers, reducing variation in contribution rates and reducing the level of contribution rates or at least reducing any increases. During the last years it has been possible to see an increase of the number of private health insurances across Europe. In some cases, the insurances are substitutive and are an alternative to the public ones. In Germany and the Netherlands, individuals with high incomes may purchase substitutive health insurance. Supplementary insurances are supported to allow quicker access to services or increase the quality of the facilities in the public sector. This results in differential access between those with and those without private insurance. Another alternative is complementary health insurance offers that full or partial cover for services that are excluded or not fully cover specific services. A third alternative is “premia”, usually a group rated system based on a calculation of the average risk of the employees in a specific firm. Private health insurance may be subsidized in part by the state using tax credits or tax relief (in Austria, Ireland and Portugal). Germany and the Netherlands have limited tax relief that does not offer an incentive to purchase policies because relief is capped for all social security. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom do not offer tax relief on private health insurance. Specific for Sweden, the social health insurance is developed in a manner that gives the non-employed population prevention from fragmentation of coverage and the same entitlements as the working population. All individuals can access to the same providers and maintain solidarity across the population. The social security insurance offices offer both a disability allowance and an attendance allowance to individual that have a substantial and durable disability and need personal assistance to cope with their daily life. Individuals at the age of 19 or over (and at the moment when entitlement to childcare allowance ceases), can receive this support. The attendance is directly linked to the disability and it must be assistance with things that the individuals cannot manage by him/her due to the disability. The individual does not have to have any particular illness or disability to receive disability allowance or attendance. However, it is necessary to have a doctor certificate that shows that the disability affects the possibility to cope with the daily work life, work or studies. If the individual is blind or lacks locomotor vision, if the individual is deaf or has seriously impaired hearing or if the individual require assistance and additional costs, it is possible to receive a higher allowance if you need particularly great assistance and /or assistance some hours/day. In 2011, the Swedish Government launched a new strategy to guide its disability policy for the period leading up to 2016. The aim is to give people with disabilities a greater chance of participating in society on the same terms as others. Ten priority areas have been identified, three of which are given special attention: the justice system, transportation and IT. New IT tools may give people with disabilities a greater degree of independence. Special emphasis is therefore being placed on digital inclusion in Sweden’s national IT strategy. 6.1.3 Examples of policies at the country level • Modified employment quotas (France, Poland, Greece) Recent modifications include an increase in the levy to be paid by companies not fulfilling their quota (e.g. France, Italy); an expansion of the quota regulation to cover the public sector (e.g. France, Poland); an expansion to smaller companies hitherto not covered by the regulation (e.g. Greece). • Stronger employer incentives (Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Switzerland) Workplace accommodation obligations, also for new job applicants, have often been strengthened in legislation such as for example the Swedish Working Environment Act. Other countries have chosen to raise obligations by making employers responsible for sickness benefit payment for a period of varying length, e.g. most recently also in the Czech Republic (in exchange for reduced premia to sickness insurance). This period has been increased in steps in the Netherlands, where employers now have to pay sickness benefit for up to two years and even a third year in the case they cannot prove to have done everything to help the sick worker back into work. In some insurance systems, employers’ contributions are increasingly related to the actual number of insurance cases they produce (“experience-rating of premiums”); this is true for disability benefit insurance in Finland and the Netherlands, and for various privately-provided schemes, e.g. in Switzerland. • Spreading of supported employment (Nordic countries, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland) A substantial number of countries have increased the range of employment programs available to people with disabilities. Most noteworthy, supported employment programs (also referred to as individual placement and support, or IPS, models) were introduced in many countries during the 1990s (e.g. the Nordic countries, Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland followed in 2002), often as a trial program initially before being rolled-out country-wide. • Modernizing sheltered employment (Poland, Hungary, Finland, Norway, France, Netherlands) Poland and Hungary have introduced accreditation systems (as a prerequisite to receiving subsidies) to guarantee that the working environment is suitable for people with disabilities. Other countries have developed new forms of sheltered employment closer to the regular labor market, like the social enterprises in Finland and France; or strengthened the focus on progression into the open labor market (e.g. Norway which limits the share of people who can stay in sheltered employment permanently). In both cases, more emphasis is given to workers’ professional development and the skills learned while in sheltered work. In the Netherlands, reforms emphasize the right to tailor-made sheltered employment which can also be offered by regular companies. • Improved wage subsidies (Belgium, Denmark, Finland) Several countries, e.g. Belgium and Denmark, expanded greatly subsidized employment for people with disabilities since the mid-1990s. In the latter country, generous wage subsidies (for so called “flex-jobs”) are provided for people who cannot perform their work under normal conditions, but subsidies are available only after exhaustion of rehabilitation possibilities. The effectiveness of wage subsidies depends on the degree of targeting and is typically much higher with a more restrictive system (such as in Finland) than a generous system like the Danish one, which invited large deadweight and required constant readjustment (e.g. a cap on the maximum subsidy) in response to sharp increases in the number of people holding such jobs, which are de facto subsidized part-time jobs. • Earlier vocational rehabilitation (Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Netherland) Vocational rehabilitation operates on the supply side of the labor market. It aims to increase the productivity of people with disabilities by restoring and developing their skills and capabilities so they can participate in the general workforce. In Austria, for instance, vocational rehabilitation became compulsory in 1996 and each claim for a disability benefit is automatically treated as a request for rehabilitation. Early intervention kicks in when the present job cannot be resumed. Hungary follows, since 2008, a similar rehabilitation before- benefit principle with a comprehensive rehabilitation process. With the fifth reform of its disability insurance, Switzerland aimed to go a step further by shifting from rehabilitation-before-benefit to rehabilitation-instead-of-a-benefit. This shift in Switzerland went hand-in-hand with the promotion of early intervention and the introduction of new measures (including job adaptation, placement and socio-professional rehabilitation). The Netherlands is an example of a country that expanded (previously largely non-existent) vocational rehabilitation considerably in the past decade; employers must do their utmost to reintegrate sick employees and – in line with the sick-pay obligation – are responsible for retraining during the two years. • One-stop-shop service provision (United Kingdom, Norway) Several countries have taken major steps towards a one-stop-shop benefit and service provision for people with disabilities. United Kingdom the creation of a new agency – Job Centre Plus – that operates on a far more customer-oriented basis provided a single point of delivery for jobs, benefits advice and support for people of working age. Norway has tried to fully merge the Public Employment Service and the National Insurance Authority into one new public administration to ensure streamlined and better coordinated services in order to minimize the possibility that clients are continually shuffled between agencies. Initial results are disappointing though this is mostly because such major institutional change will take a long time to deliver. • Better incentives for benefit authorities (Denmark) Incentives for public institutions granting benefits or assisting persons with partial work capacity to resume employment have also been revised in several countries. Municipalities in Denmark became responsible in 1998 for both employment supports and benefit grants. Reimbursement rates from the central government are higher for active intervention so that municipalities have a vested interest in avoiding benefit payments. These reimbursement rates have been re-adjusted over the years as new policy challenges emerged; for instance, with the increased number of people on subsidized flex-jobs, the rate of reimbursement for this particular type of intervention was reduced in case of insufficient documentation in the application for a flex-job. In a similar but less developed way, and not related to disability policy as such, Dutch municipalities are given incentives to make better use of the work-related programs available to their clients. • Outcome-based funding of services (Netherlands and United Kingdom) A more recent development in some countries is a move away from bulk funding of employment services, provided by either public or non-profit institutions, to outcome-based funding of services, sometimes but not necessarily provided by private providers. To a varying degree, countries including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have started to reimburse service providers for the actual employment outcomes (or sometimes participation outcomes) delivered, with payments often split into several components including an upfront payment and one or several payments along the road tied to performance, when a client has achieved an outcome or stayed in employment for a predefined period. • Freedom of choice for clients (Germany, Czech Republic) Another development in a few countries is towards giving clients seeking and in need of services the possibility to select the provider of choice and, more importantly, the service they need. In the United States, for a number of years’ disability benefit recipients are now entitled to a voucher (the so-called “ticket-to-work”) which they can use for services offered by certified providers. In a similar vein, individual reintegration plans in the Netherlands allow clients to choose their own service pathway, though requiring the consent of the insurance authority; seven out of ten clients are choosing this option. A few other countries, like Germany and the Czech Republic, are experimenting with similar policies on a smaller scale. • More objective medical criteria (Spain, Switzerland) Several countries have chosen to tighten the medical criteria used to determine disability benefit entitlement. More particularly, countries which demand assessments by general practitioners have moved to a more uniform evaluation. In Spain, for instance, with the creation of the National Institute of Social Security in 1997, disability is assessed by benefit administrators based on a medical assessment performed by the institute’s own doctors. Switzerland did not go as far but in a similar vein an increasing number of the medical assessments are performed by the special regional medical services operated by the cantonal authorities, introduced in 2004. Similarly, New Zealand has seen a gradual shift since the mid-1990s in the decision-making process, from eligibility determined by medical practitioners completing certificates for clients, to case-managers determining eligibility on the basis of advice from medical practitioners, interviews with the client, and other relevant assessments. • More stringent vocational criteria (Netherlands, Norway, Germany) In terms of vocational assessment, several countries are taking an ever broader perspective by considering more and more jobs in the labor market as a reference in determining disability benefit eligibility. In the Netherlands, as of 1993 eligibility for benefits requires that a person could not do any theoretically available job. Similarly, a 1994 reform in Norway, through which the labor market authorities were given the overall responsibility for employment measures, changed the system from strict own-occupation assessment to a labor market-related criterion. Implementation of such change, which is quite radical in principle, is lagging behind. Germany introduced a similar reform in 2001 but the own-occupation approach was kept for all insured older than 40 years at the time of the reform and persons entitled to a partial benefit, who do not find proper part-time work, continue to receive a full disability benefit. • Changes to benefit payments (Austria. Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark) Reforms have also affected the duration of benefit payment and the level of disability required for benefit entitlement. In Austria, Germany and Poland, disability benefits were de facto permanent but became strictly temporary – except in the case of full disability in Austria and Germany – in 1996, 2001 and 2005, respectively. In Poland, a temporary benefit is usually granted for three years and upon expiration, payments are terminated, individuals have to reapply and their case will be fully re-examined. A few countries have also modified minimum levels of disability required for a disability benefit entitlement. Since the early reform of 1984 in Italy, Australia and Luxembourg restricted the access to benefits for those with partially-reduced work capacity. Since 2006, eligibility to disability benefits in Australia is based on not being able to work at least 15 hours a week, instead of 30 hours prior to reform. Similarly, in the Netherlands following a reform in 2006, the then very low minimum earnings capacity loss required for a disability benefit entitlement was raised, from 15% to 35%. Finally, the generosity of the benefit itself was only modified in a handful of countries. Recent broad benefit reforms in Denmark and the Netherlands included a reduction in the level of benefit payments. Some of the countries with flat-rate payments have made efforts to equalize sickness and/or disability benefit levels with unemployment benefit levels (e.g. New Zealand). • Stronger work incentives (United Kingdom, Ireland, Portugal Slovak Republic, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary) Promoting work incentives for people on disability benefits has also been pursued by a group of countries. This was a high priority in the United Kingdom, which introduced a special tax credit in 1999 which later on was merged into the general Working Tax Credit. In addition, a new temporary earnings supplement – the Return-to-Work-Credit – was introduced in 2003. Both credits constitute a wage top-up for people with disabilities in low paid employment to ensure work pays. The biggest problem with such tax schemes, however, is the low take-up rate. The latest disability benefit reform in the Netherlands, in 2006, improves work incentives by providing what is de facto a permanent in-work benefit for individuals with partial or temporary disability through a wage-related benefit payment. Other countries made it easier to combine disability benefit receipt with income from work, sometimes by introducing or increasing earnings disregards (e.g. Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal and the Slovak Republic). In addition to the combination of work and benefits, countries have sought to promote employment of people with disabilities by extending the possibility to put the benefit on hold while trying work for a certain period of time and being able to return to the benefit without reassessment. Such possibility was extended to two years or more at the end of the 1990s in Finland and Norway and more recently in Canada and is now possible without any time limit in Denmark and Sweden. A few countries have introduced special rehabilitation benefits paid at a higher level than disability benefit to encourage people to take employability-improving rehabilitation measures (e.g. Norway and recently Hungary). • Stricter sickness absence monitoring (Denmark, Spain) Several countries concluded that to tackle the number of people claiming a disability benefit it is necessary to address the issue of long-term sickness absence. These countries have increased their efforts to reduce sickness absence by making drastic modifications in their sickness monitoring policy. In Denmark, municipalities have been given more and more incentives to monitor absence rigorously and introduce steps for early intervention. Since 2005, the sickness monitoring process includes the categorization of sickness into three categories with more work-relevant focus and closer follow-up rules (every four rather than eight weeks as is used otherwise) being applied for the category most at risk. A similar mechanism was established in Spain in 2004 when a new department at the National Institute of Social Security was created with the sole purpose of better monitoring and reducing absence rates. A new monitoring tool with daily updated complete individual sickness absence histories allows online selection of cases for reviews on the basis of longer-than-expected recovery phases. In addition, in 2005 a general absence control was put in place when the duration of absence was greater than six months. Other countries, including especially the Netherlands and Sweden, have recently put in place very detailed medical guidelines for sick-leave certificates by general practitioners for a range of diagnoses so to ensure that sick workers do not stay out of work for longer than is necessary, as judged by expert opinion. 6.1.4 Other rules and local legislations P4All will need to discriminate who pays feeds and who does not. The ecosystem will also need to consider differences in regulations and its implications for cross-border transactions. Some examples of these regulations are: • EU law provides that the consumer rules of the EU State where the consumer is a resident apply in a cross-border transaction if the supplier of products or services directs its activities to that state. • The language of the website and the currency offered for payment, whether a local customer helpdesk number is provided and/or the use of a local top-level domain name has however to be indicated by providers. It seems rational to assume that this demand is a generic one and involve even third parties such as national consumer organizations. • Since 2014 exists The Consumer Rights Directive, which provides harmonization within the EU of certain consumer rights in the case of online transactions. In particular, the right of withdrawal, the cooling-off period, which is set at 14 days, applies regardless of the country of residence of the consumers. Although this rule can diminish fragmentation of the market, suppliers can experience an increase of the transaction costs because the long period of time there the product or good is out of circulation and thus affect the suppliers’ profits. • Obligation imposed on consumers to pay the cost for sending an item back to the supplier or when exercising the right of withdrawal apply in the same manner in all EU States. The Consumer Rights Directive also fully harmonizes the national rules on the passing of risk in the case of loss of, or damage to the goods dispatched by the supplier. • Even other example is the rules on burden of proof or non-conformity of goods (faulty goods) for which EU law imposes a minimum period of two years. Although most EU States have opted for two years, Sweden and Ireland applied a period of three years. • Intellectual property rights are territorial in nature. In most cases these rights are regulated at national level and their geographical scope is limited to the territory of the EU State granting them However, it seems to be a fragmentation of the intellectual property landscape, in particular respect to digital distribution i.e. as in the case of Scandinavian. It is, however, possible to acquire license rights for the territory of EU which implies an additional cost for to access to some specific intangible goods as in the case of music. • Barriers on payments: Some countries have still some restrictions on advance payment. In the Netherlands. For instance, a consumer may only be obliged to pay half the purchase price in advance (before the product or goods is delivered). Denmark allowed until 2011 merchants to put a surcharge on payments with credit cards (both Danish and foreign). Denmark demanded also to provide a Danish registration number (CVR) in order to be able to offer a Danish card as payment method. In practice, this implies that a foreign supplier/ trader need some kind of establishment in Denmark. Belgian has banned advance payments from 2011. • VAT. Seems to be a complicated field when selling goods or services across borders. At EU level, the VAT Directive sets up a framework for VAT, but it does not set individual VAT-rates which are left to the competence of each EU State. As a result, VAT-rates for a transaction with a certain product or service may vary between the EU States. Furthermore, a supplier established in one EU State may need to register in other EU States if its sales volumes in those countries exceed a certain amount. Further, VAT registration may be conducted online in certain countries, but not in others. • Moral and ethical standards This is a complex characteristic because of how different cultures might define moral and ethical standards. Nevertheless, there are standards that a growing number of individuals worldwide would consider moral and ethical, such as treating all people with respect, avoiding conflicts of interest and corruption, accounting fairly for financial transactions, abiding by the rules of the organization, using authority in a fair and just manner, and having goals that would be considered beneficial to mankind’s welfare.