A single Europe-wide phone number for doing business between 27 member states could help companies cut costs and boost efficiency, the European Commission said last week.

A public consultation has been launched seeking submissions from firms, consumers and phone operators on their views about the potential benefits or pitfalls of a system which would allow businesses to have the same telephone number in all EU countries.

Irish MEP Jim Higgins said a single EU phone number would help businesses offering cross-border sales and services, and also improve the provision of after-sales and customer queries, regardless of where the customer was based.