The long awaited plan to create a European Digital Single Market has been unveiled! Indeed, Commission Vice President in charge for The Single Digital Market, Andrus Ansip, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society portfolio, Günther Oettinger, revealed Wednesday May 6th, the strategy for the creation of the Digital Single Market, which in turn should lead the EU back to a dominant market position in the internet age.
To better understand and analyse the freshly released strategy, which encompasses 16 central measures to be implemented by the end of the year 2016, Eurochambres, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, invited to a business breakfast, just a few hours after the package was released where Jasmin Battista, member of Vice-President Ansip’s Cabinet, outlined the plan.
Speaking about the Digital Single Market, most of us noticed the fact that there are lot of barriers, not allowing us to express our full potential. We need to address these barriers and come up with actions in order to augment the economical growth in Europe. We need to intervene where we see the market is not able to solve the situation by itself.
The situation nowadays is the following one: 28-fragmented national markets and no Single Digital Market yet. Moreover we also have to consider the fact that, if the people are not digitally equipped, digitally trained, we can talk about Digital Single Market but without having the people for it.
We don’t want a shortcut that’s why we are proposing the actions in a 2 years optic. We have to respect certain rules in order to consult properly the things.
How is the strategy structured?
The Digital Single Market Strategy is built on three main pillars and includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year.
The idea of having few key actions, 16 is only a bunch of action, not like the Digital agenda, is given to better focus on what we consider priority.
1) Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe.
The Commission will propose:
- Rules to make cross-border e-commerce easier.
The Commission proposes a different set of key actions in order to reach a full harmonization of EU rules on contracts and consumer protection. The costs of knowing so many different national legal systems and consumer protection laws are very high. Harmonization equal simplification!
- To improve the efficiency and lower the costs of parcel delivery.
- To put an end to unjustified geo-blocking:
Geo-Blocking indeed is one of the main barriers we face. If we look at the trips inside Europe, with at least one night stay abroad this problem affects most of the people. The initiative could include targeted change to the e-commerce framework and the framework set out by Article 20 of the Service Directive.
- A modern, more European copyright law:
Reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works across the EU, including through further harmonisation measures.
- To reduce the administrative burdens businesses face due to different VAT regimes.
Creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish.
The Commission will:
- Propose key measures on the Telecom framework review:
Including: more effective spectrum coordination, incentives for investments in high-speed broadband, the establishment of a level playing field for all market players and the creation of an effective institutional framework.
- Update the audio-visual media framework to make it fit for the 21st century.
- Analyse the role of online platforms.
The beginning of the consultations on online platforms began yesterday. There are a lot of different problems applying to different parts. There was also big public pressure to do something on platforms, enhance transparency and information.
- Reinforce trust and security in digital services, particularly concerning the handling of personal data. (General Data Protection Regulation to be adopted by the end of the year)
- Propose a partnership with the industry on cybersecurity, focusing on producing technology and solutions in the area of online network security.
Maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.
The Commission will:
- Propose a “European free flow of data” initiative, starting 2016, in order to remove technical and legislative barriers to allow development in the IT sector, promote the free movement of data in the European Union and tackle restrictions.
- Define priorities for standards and interoperability in areas critical to the Digital Single Market as e-health, transport planning or energy.
- Support an inclusive digital society where citizens have the right skills to benefit from the opportunities of the Internet and boost their chances of being employed.
- Launch a new e-government action plan, to connect business registers across Europe and make sure governments no longer request for the same information when they can use the information they already have. This “only once” initiative potentially save around €5billions per year by 2017.
To know more:
-. EU-LOGOS, “IDENTIFYING KEY BARRIERS ON THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET http://europe-liberte-securite-justice.org/2015/04/19/the-digital-revolution-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)