Towards a digital single market in the European Union

Growth and employment are two of the main pillars which underlying the priorities of the new Juncker Commission. To optimize the opportunities, the Commission wants to take advantage of new technologies creating a digital single market where consumers and businesses will benefit.

Digital single market / European Commission

Digital single market / European Commission

The “Europe 2020” growth strategy, adopted in 2010, includes several initiatives to implement at European level. The “Digital Agenda for Europe” is one of them, which should favour the creation of a digital single market. President Juncker has pledged to take action at the beginning of his mandate to promote a digital single market with the aim of accelerating the conclusions to create common standards for data protection, to reform the telecoms rules, to modernise the copyright rules taking into account the new technologies, to simplify the rules for consumers protection in online shopping, to facilitate the creation of innovative businesses, and to improve learning and digital skills.

If there are no boundaries for new technologies, why do we maintain in the European Union diverse regulations on telecoms, copyright or data protection?, why must EU citizens pay roaming tariffs for using our mobile phones in other EU countries? With a digital single market, as it appears in the President Juncker’s political guidelines, “companies would be subject to the same data protection and consumer rules, regardless of where their server is based”.

Moreover, a digital single market would not only unify the different current rules, but it would generate, according to the European Commission, up to 250.000 million Euro during the new Commission’s mandate (2014-2019) and hundreds of thousands of new jobs, specially for young people. Furthermore, the digital single market would also promote a dynamic knowledge-based society, and the use of digital technologies and online services should cover all sectors of the economy and of the public sector.

The European Commission estimates that the workforce in the framework of the digital market would raise from 1,6 millions of employees in 2013 to 4,8 millions in 2018. In addition, incomes would triple, from 17.500 to 63.000 million Euros.

President Juncker wrote in an article before the European elections that “Europe should become a continent where using your mobile phone is as simple and cheap abroad as it is at home; where consumers can download a song or a movie on their iPhones without problems wherever they are in the EU; where Internet users know that their personal data are well protected, regardless of which country they live in, which service they use or where in Europe they buy online”.

The Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, regretted in a recent speech that 28 different sets of rules represent a barrier to small businesses expanding in the European Union, as well as to consumers willing to buy online. Without a digital single market, Europe will not be dynamic, creative and enterprising enough to compete with our rivals.

Taking into consideration that Internet offers important opportunities for citizens and companies, and that new technologies lead to innovation, it is important to remove barriers in the digital field between European countries through the creation of a connected digital single market and, therefore, a digital Europe, more dynamic, more open and more competitive in order to achieve more growth and more jobs.

Author: Rubén Ruiz Calleja

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About Rubén Ruiz Calleja

Alumnus of the College of Europe (Natolin) - Marie Skłodowska- Curie Promotion 2011-2012.
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