3 basic pillars for Europe’s digital future

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission unveiled its proposals for the European Digital Single Market with the aim to tear down regulatory walls and move from 28 national markets to a single one, opening up digital opportunities for people and businesses. The strategy is one of the top ten priorities from the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and outlines sixteen initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2016, based on three pillars explained below.

Pillar I: Providing better online access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe

In 2014, only 15% of consumers bought online from other European countries. The Commission’s strategy will contribute to make cross-border commerce easier through legislative proposals for effective contract rules. This will encourage more businesses, especially SMEs, to sell online across borders while enhancing consumer confidence.

62% of companies who would like to sell online don’t do it because of the high delivery costs. In particular, the Commission will look for measures to improve cross-border delivery services.

Many businesses cannot use online services that are available in other European countries (without any justification) or they are re-routed to a local store with different prices. In this sense, the Commission will prepare legislative proposals to stop unjustified geo-blocking.

egislative proposals to modernize copyright law and provide better access to culture and welcome new artists and creators. The Commission will tackle commercial-scale infringements of intellectual property rights.

Simplify VAT rules will remain essential to reduce the administrative burden on businesses due to different VAT regimes. This will make it easier for businesses, especially SMEs, to buy and sell in other European countries.

The Commission will also review of the Satellite and Cable Directive as well as the Consumer Protection Cooperation regulation.


Pillar II: Creating the right environment where digital networks and innovative services can flourish

In order to have a strong, competitive and dynamic telecoms sector able to provide high-speed and secure infrastructure the Commission will look at how to best reform the current telecom rules.

The Commission will analyze the role of online platforms in the market and tackle certain issues such

as illegal content, transparency, use of information and constraints on moving from one platform to another.

72% of European internet users are worried that they give away too much personal data. In this sense, some actions will be taken forward to strengthen trust in online services. To that end, the Commission will review the e-Privacy Directve and will establish a Cybersecurity contractual Public-Private Partnership.

The Commission will also review the Audivisual Media Services Directive.


Pillar III: Maximizing the growth potential of the European Digital Economy

Industrial sectors should be able to manage the transition to a smart industrial system.

The European Commission will adopt a Priority ICT Standards Plan and extend the European Interoperability Framework for public services in order to support new technologies and encourage standards and interoperability.

Some initiatives will be implemented on free flow of data (e.g. between cloud providers), data ownership and on a European Cloud.

A new e-Government Action Plan will be launched and it will include an initiative on the ‘Once-Only’ principle and an initiative on mandatory interconnection of business registers.

The Commission will look at how to best unlock the benefits of e-services and advance digital skills.


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