The Digital Single Market strategy proposed by Commission Vice President in charge for The Single Digital Market, Andrus Ansip, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society portfolio, Günther Oettinger, Wednesday May 6th, raised the interest and comments of all relevant stakeholders involved: European Institutions, consumers, industries and lobbies, all of them are studying deep in detail the contents of the freshly presented strategy.
The European Parliament on his part, welcomed the strategy, defining it as a required step in order to increase and reinforce the confidence in the digital world, to increase economical growth and to increase the rights of citizens, creators and enterprises.
The Presidents of the three different committees that are going to co-operate on this strategy in the near future, commented the following way:
Jerzy Buzek (PPE Poland), president of the ITRE committee: Europe needs to get back to its position as a global IT leader. In order to reach this goal, it is fundamental to update the Telecom Single Market regulation and to adapt it’s structure in order to facilitate the transition towards a 4.0 industry.
Vicky Ford (CRE, Great Britain), president of the IMCO committee: stated that, on her opinion, the European Commission is pursuing the right path towards the elimination of the still existing boundaries and useless administrative burdens at the European level, but could still do more in order to facilitate the e-commerce.
Pavel Svoboda (PPE, Czech republic), president of the JURI committee: The Committee already discusses some specific issues related to the copyright regulation, but it is urgent to update it.
The Committee of the Regions, on his side, regrets how the newly proposed strategy does not consider the role of local and regional governments in the establishment of broadband infrastructures, their importance in terms of e-governance as well as in stimulating the use of Big Data in order to improve private and public services.
The telecom operators call for appropriate and concrete measures. Indeed the European Telecom Network Operators (ETNO) welcomed the newly developed strategy asking for concrete and fast measures in updating and regulating the Telecom Network, a higher regulatory harmonisation and the elimination of the still existing barriers to investments in networks.
The European Competitive Telecommunication Association (ECTA) instead, pointed its attention on the competition, “innovation and choice are the best ways to deliver affordable services”. ECTA indeed is asking the Commission to ensure a correct regulation in order to enable also the alternative operators to compete on a level playing field with the historic operators. Moreover the regulatory reform should focus on eliminating the still existing obsolete and inefficient regulations, reinforcing and promoting competition and a zero tolerance approach towards monopoles and duopolies in the new network.
The cable-operators, represented by Cable Europe, on their side are asking for actions, which recognize the great variety of technologies and therefore maintain a technology-neutral approach, without hindering innovation and investments. A central point will be the development of a legislative framework, which will be satisfactory for the new customers and promote the new services.
Openforum Europe, the organization that promotes the use of open standards in ICT, considers that certain proposals could be more ambitious to ensure consumers and industries to fully benefit of the new Digital Single Market. The framework for the Copyright reform should be more flexible and the regulations concerning net neutrality ensure an open Internet.
Digital Europe, representing the digital technology industry in Europe, stated that the Commission positively identified the outstanding challenges to face in order to reach the DSM. In the near future we need to ameliorate the technological capabilities in Europe, paying attention on not regulating too much sectors that does not need it.
The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), promoting a favourable environment for interoperable ICT solutions, asks the Commission to be very carefully when adopting new regulations because they could in turn hinder the freedom to innovate.
The European Consumer Organization (BEUC), aiming at representing and defending the interests of all consumers at the European level, welcomed the strategy and it’s aim at improving the digital economy in Europe, facilitating the access to goods, services and contents. In order to reach this improvements, market competitiveness and consumer protection have to be improved. Moreover the geo-blocking issue and the copyright reform urge to be solved as a Telecom Single Market to be created. “Harmonization is the best solution”.
ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardization, welcomed the proposals in order to increase interoperability in the future digital market but regrets the fact that there is no willingness to increase cross-boarder consumer protection. “In order for the DSM to result as an added value for the consumers, better regulations are needed to fulfill the requirements of security, data protection, net-interoperability and accessibility standard rules. Moreover it’s important that future regulations concerning IT products and services focuses more on the consumer perspective.”
Business Europe, the leading advocate for growth and competitiveness at European level, focused its attention on the competitiveness Europe would re-gain if Member States correctly implement the dispositions of the Commission. Indeed, a well functioning Digital Single Market would reinforce the industrial processes making them more efficient, raise the e-commerce and promote responsible energy consumption. “Not taking actions could result in a 10% loss of the European industrial base”.
ESBA, the European Small Business Alliance, sees the development of a Digital Single Market as highly important. Concerning the presented regulation, ESBA welcomes the disposals in terms of connectivity, digital competences and in simplifying the VAT system.
For Ecommerce Europe, representing companies selling goods or services online to consumers in Europe, the Commission positively identified the key barriers to e-commerce. In the following months, priority should be given to the following points: simplification of e-commerce rules, harmonization of data protection regulation, interoperability of parcel delivery services, clarification of the geo-blocking issue, simplification of the VAT regime and fair competition.
The Culture and Creative Industries:
A dozen associations of the audio-visual sector (FIAPF, cepi.tv, Premier League, Bundesliga, FIAD, MPA…) published a joint communiqué, stating that the European Commission needs to change it’s approach, if really wanting to put in practice its promises of respecting the value of rights in the audio-visual sector, especially concerning the geo-blocking issue.
The associations also emphasized that a strong copyright regulation that respects the principles of territoriality and exclusivity shall be maintained.
The Game Industry:
The Europen Lottery and Toto association noted that the Commission continues regulating certain sectors, especially the one of the online gaming, in the interests of consumers. The association declared itself in favour of this kind of regulations, if made in a safe regulatory framework that respects the specific character of the sector itself and fights against illegal offers.
To know more:
-. EU-LOGOS, “IDENTIFYING KEY BARRIERS ON THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET
-. Webpage on the Digital Single Market (#DigitalSingleMarket)
-. Digital Single Market Strategy: European Commission agrees areas for action (25 March 2015)