The Digital Single Market in Europe

Digital Single Market in Europe

This is the EU project to create a digital single market free and secure that allows individuals to shop online across borders and businesses to sell throughout the EU, wherever they are On the territory of the EU. The aim is to give more scope to the EU’s digital economy in order to offer consumers better services at better prices and help businesses to prosper.

This strategy, which was published by the Commission on 6 May 2015, has three objectives:

  • Improving access to digital goods and services across Europe for consumers and businesses
  • Improving the conditions for the growth and development of digital networks and services
  • Stimulating the growth of the European digital economy

How is it necessary?

European citizens face barriers when using online services and tools. Online markets remain largely confined within national borders : only 15% of consumers make online purchases in another EU country and barely 7% of small and medium-sized businesses sell abroad.

Regulatory barriers and fragmentation of the market still prevent citizens from taking advantage of certain offers of goods and services and slowing down the growth of enterprises.

According to the Commission, a well-functioning digital single market could represent up to 415 billion euros per year for the EU economy . To unleash this potential, the EU intends to adopt far-reaching reforms, ranging from a new copyright framework to parcel delivery and telecommunications.

In detail

A digital single market in Europe – COM (2015) 192

The Commission strategy for a Digital Single Market provides several measures, legislative or otherwise, to be unveiled in 2015 and 2016 and which are structured around three axes:

  • Improving access to goods and services online
  • Improving the conditions for the growth and development of digital networks and services
  • Stimulating the growth of the European digital economy

1. Improving access to goods and services online

Reforming cross-border trade rules online

To this end, the Commission will in particular present a proposal for the harmonization of EU rules on the purchase of digital content, such as applications or electronic books, EU rights for cross-border on-line sales of goods Improvements in consumer rights.

Improve cross-border parcel delivery

This will require measures to improve price transparency and regulatory oversight of the cross-border parcel delivery market.

Stop geographical blockages

The Commission has proposed a draft regulation aimed at ending the “geographical blockage” of preventing access to websites in other EU Member States or requesting different prices depending on the location Where the customer is located.

Reforming European copyright legislation

The Commission will propose measures to ensure that content services, such as video services, can be used when crossing a border. For example, people who have bought a film or music in their country can take advantage of it when traveling elsewhere in Europe. The Commission will also redouble its efforts to combat infringements of intellectual property rights.

Reducing the VAT-related bureaucracy

To this end, measures will be taken to ensure that sellers of physical goods can benefit from the electronic registration and single payment system and a common VAT threshold will be established to help start-ups to be present online.

2. Improve the conditions for the growth and development of digital networks and services

Reforming EU telecommunications rules

In this respect, the Commission will propose measures to:

  • Facilitate coordination and management of the radio spectrum
  • Incentives to invest in high-speed broadband
  • Improve the institutional and regulatory framework

Review the rules for audiovisual media

This will include a review of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive , measures relating to the promotion of European works and rules for the protection of minors and publicity.

Evaluating the role of online platforms

In this context, the Commission will evaluate the lack of transparency in the results of the research , the on-line use by the platforms of the information they collect, the relationships between platforms and suppliers and the constraints faced by those wishing to change Of platform.

A study will also be carried out on how to combat illegal content on the Internet .

Reinforcing confidence in the processing by digital services of personal data

This could include reviewing the privacy and electronic communications directive , which currently applies only to traditional telecommunications companies and does not cover other digital service providers. The Commission will carry out this review after the entry into force of the new EU data protection rules.

The creation of a public-private partnership on cybersecurity is also foreseen.

3. Stimulating the growth of the European digital economy

Building a Data Economy

The Commission will present:

  • A European initiative on “free movement of data” aiming at breaking free from the obstacles to the free movement of data within the EU which are not linked to the protection of personal data
  • A European initiative on cloud computing, notably on the certification of cloud services

Define priorities for standardization and interoperability

In this context, particular attention will be given to the areas deemed essential for the digital single market, such as e-health, route planning, on-line freight or intelligent energy measurement systems.

Building an inclusive digital single market

In this regard, steps will be taken to develop e-skills, which the Commission will include in its future skills and training initiatives.

The Commission will also present a new action plan for eGovernment 2016-2020 and, in this context, will:

  • Will launch a pilot project to test the “once and for all” principle that public administrations share information internally so that they do not have to re-ask for it when they need it again
  • Will endeavor to achieve the interconnection of business registers across the EU
  • Will seek to set up a “single digital portal” by integrating various existing European portals and services

Within the European Council

At their meeting in October 2013, EU leaders called for the creation of a digital single market, benefiting consumers and businesses. They pointed out that, in a globalized world, this was crucial for growth and competitiveness at European level.

The European Council recalled at its meeting in June 2014 that the completion of the digital single market in 2015 was one of the priorities of the EU.

At its meeting on 18 December 2014, the European Council requested the Commission to present an ambitious communication on the digital single market before the June 2015 European Council .

On 25 and 26 June 2015, EU leaders defended the strategy, which they believe should be used as a vehicle for inclusive growth in all regions of the EU. They insisted that measures be taken to tackle the fragmentation of the market , create the necessary digital infrastructure and facilitate the transition of European companies to digital . They also called for the rapid adoption of new rules for telecommunications , cybersecurity and data protection .

Within the Council

On 18 and 19 May 2015, the Ministers of Culture held a first exchange of views on the audiovisual policy aspects of the strategy . They supported the transboundary portability of content, the fight against illegal content and the need to strike the right balance in the field of copyright. They also indicated that the principle of territoriality is important for the creation of content, implying that the geographical blocking should be reduced even if it could sometimes be justified.

Ministers agreed that the current Audiovisual Media Services Directive should be adapted to technological change. The review should aim to:

  • Guarantee freedom of the media and the promotion of cultural diversity
  • Preserve the country of origin principle (each audiovisual media service provider falls within the competence of a single Member State)
  • Simplify the procedure to be followed by Member States when they are the target of unacceptable content from another Member State

Competitiveness ministers had their first exchange of views on the strategy at the Council meeting on 28 and 29 May 2015. They noted that the strategy addresses the most important issues for the construction of the digital single market. They stressed that it is important to develop rules appropriate copyright material , update the rules for electronic commerce , to build confidence, awareness and consumer protection and insisted that the We are strengthening digital skills and data protection rules.

They also defined a number of priority actions:

  • Create the appropriate framework for SMEs, in particular for start-ups
  • Promoting the digital switchover of European industry
  • Apply and extend e- governance in public administrations
  • Increase investment in digital infrastructure and networks
  • Assess the impact of tax regulations on digital tools
  • Consider applying the “digital by default” principle to all new EU legislative acts

Ministers also called for the creation of a European open science program , which would allow open access to publicly funded research publications and research data. In their view, research should play a greater role in the strategy for the digital single market and contribute to digital innovation.

Telecommunications ministers also discussed the digital single market strategy at the TTE Council meeting on 11-12 June 2015. They welcomed the objectives and reiterated that digitization of the economy is important for Employment and growth and boosting the competitiveness of the EU.

In particular, the ministers highlighted:

  • The role of digitization in stimulating entrepreneurship and the growth of SMEs
  • The need to improve cybersecurity and build confidence in online services
  • The need to improve infrastructure and broadband access for all citizens
  • The need to make pricing of package delivery more transparent across the EU

Ministers also stressed the need for good coordination at the national level to ensure that the strategy is properly deployed.

On 15 June 2015 the ministers of justice adopted a general approach to the data protection regulation , which enabled the Council and the European Parliament to begin negotiations. This regulation will improve the protection of personal data, while giving businesses more prospects in the digital single market.

In May 2016, the Competitiveness Council approved the main principles to ensure the portability of online content services in the internal market. This agreement enabled the Council to enter into negotiations with the European Parliament.

Ministers also adopted conclusions on digital single market technologies and the modernization of public services .

On 28 November 2016, the Competitiveness Council reached agreement on a draft regulation aimed at prohibiting unjustified geographical blocking between Member States. The main objective of the proposal is to prevent discrimination against consumers and businesses as regards access to prices, sales or payment terms when purchasing goods and services in another Member State. Countries of the EU.

Once the European Parliament has adopted its position, negotiations between the Council, Parliament and the Commission will start.

On 7 February 2017 the Maltese Presidency reached a provisional agreement with the representatives of the European Parliament to remove obstacles to the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market. On 15 February, the agreement was approved by the ambassadors to the EU. Following the formal approval of the Regulation by the Council and Parliament, the new rules will begin to apply in the first half of 2018 (nine months after the publication of the Regulation in the EU Official Journal). It will allow consumers who subscribe to online content services or who have purchased them in their country of residence to access these services when they are temporarily in another EU country.

On 20 February 2017 the Council adopted a general approach with regard to strengthening cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection legislation . The aim of the proposal is to modernize cooperation to further reduce the harm suffered by consumers as a result of cross-border infringements of European consumer protection legislation.

The general approach allows the Council to begin negotiations with the European Parliament in the framework of the EU’s ordinary legislative procedure.

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