A Digital Single Market for Europe - EU monitor

EU monitor
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Source: A. (Andrus) Ansip i, published on Friday, April 12 2019.

In late 2014, when we began drawing up a plan for the Digital Single Market (DSM) I called it a long-term strategy to stimulate Europe’s digital environment, minimise legal uncertainty and create fair conditions for everyone.

So much has changed since then that it is easy to forget how things used to be.

Relentless daily frustrations for people and businesses, especially smaller ones.

Limited competitiveness for EU industry.

A string of legal, technical and administrative barriers.

Poor digital access to goods and services.

Major differences between countries in their quality of online connections and coverage, especially in rural areas.

It was hardly a healthy environment for digital entrepreneurs or any modern business, large or small, and especially for those keen to expand into other EU countries, with smaller operations like startups particularly affected.

They had to battle with 28 sets of rules for consumer and data protection, contract law, tax rates. Then they had to try to do some business in order to survive.

This situation was hurting everyone in Europe, socially and economically. There were too many barriers preventing people from making the most of digital opportunities and innovation, holding Europe back competitively.

We had to act - intelligently and quickly.

We wanted to create an open and fair market where people and businesses could operate online - anywhere in Europe, as easily as they did offline at home - updating the EU’s traditional single market to the online environment and digital age.

We wanted people and businesses to have better access to digital goods and services across Europe, backed up by secure and smooth-running high-quality infrastructure - everywhere.

The European Commission took its time to get this right. We held lengthy consultations with anyone and everyone who had a view to express, identifying problem areas and the best ways to tackle them.

Over many months, we formulated a series of draft laws and initiatives to build a functioning digital economy and society that would work for all Europeans.

Almost all have passed through the complex EU decision-making process and become law, or will soon do so. This has been a huge success: the DSM is becoming a reality, and not just on paper - people already feel the difference on the ground.

In fact, building a DSM has created 35 new digital rights and freedoms.

Over the next few weeks, I would like to explain on #Ansipblogs what we have done over the last few years to build a DSM in Europe that really makes a difference to companies and people, in their daily operations and in their daily lives.

Not just words - but facts too. To show how far we have come in our project to make sure that everyone in the EU can make the most of digital opportunity.