The strategy is at this stage, however, no more than a vision. As the strategy acknowledges, Europe has fallen behind other regions in this field, and at least five European Commission directorates will be involved in its transposition. >> ESBG position on digitisation
ESBG recommends the following guiding principles:
ESBG recommends that the European Commission takes advantage of this delay to more forcefully connect the revision to the new environment. Citizen and consumer protection are of course important, but it is also critical to allow service providers to process such data, when agreed with their customers, on the basis of rules harmoniously implemented across the EU.
Background on EU Digital Single Market
The European Commission communicated the Digital Single Market Strategy on 6 May 2015. It heralds the beginning of the transposition of the Political Guidelines for the next Commission assigned by incoming President Juncker in July 2014.
The Digital Single Market Strategy lists 16 actions that the Commission wants to progress by the end of 2016. The strategy rests on three pillars: better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe; creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish; and maximising the growth potential of the European digital economy.
The Communication is a strong political statement of intent from policy, business, and legal perspectives.
State of play of EU Digital Single Market
The Commission has identified a range of barriers that would currently hamper the realisation of the Digital Single Market. These include low trust among consumers and businesses in cross-border e-commerce rules, cross-border parcel delivery services that are costly and of disputable quality, and unjustified geo-blocking of consumers by online sellers. To further facilitate this Digital Single Market, the Commission sees a need for an up-to-date European copyright framework, the removal of a VAT burden and other obstacles when selling cross-border, fit-for-purpose telecom rules, a reassessed media framework, a fit-for-purpose regulatory environment for platforms and intermediaries, and greater trust and security in digital services and the handling of personal data.
The growth potential of the digital economy will be realised by building a data economy, boosting competitiveness through interoperability and standardisation, and creating an inclusive e-society. The Commission posits that advancing the Digital Single Market calls for investment, the acknowledgement of its international dimension, and effective governance. A mix of legislative and other initiatives (some completely new, some recycling work already underway) will need to be undertaken.
Pillar 1 – Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe. This will be achieved through new legislative measures or through revising existing Directives, or following a competition authority’s inquiry into the e-commerce area relating to the online trade of goods and provision of services. Legislative measures will be proposed in 2015/2016 for simple and effective cross-border rules for consumers and businesses, parcel delivery, reform of the copyright system, and a reduction of the administrative burden arising from different VAT regimes.
Pillar 2 – Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish. This will be achieved through legislative work, such as reform of current telecom rules, and reviews of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the e-Privacy Directive. This will be aided by the setting up of a public-private partnership to increase cybersecurity, and through a comprehensive analysis of the role of "platforms." All these activities are to be undertaken in 2015 and 2016.
Pillar 3 – Maximising the growth potential of the European digital economy. This will be pursued in data ownership, free flow of data and European cloud services, a priority ICT Standards Plan to extend the Interoperability framework to public services, and an e-government action plan including the interconnection of businesses registers. The digitalization underway affects five business areas that are core to ESBG’s activities. These are payments and account management, savings, insurance, SME services, and lending. Of the 16 initiatives The Digital Single Market Strategy, the most critical to ESBG’s activities are platforms and intermediaries, trust and security, telecom rules, data ownership, free flow of data, cloud, copyright framework, business, and registers.