Digital Single Market

The EU’s Digital Single Market strategy has been a major, wide-ranging, legislative priority for the European Commission since 2015.

The Commission’s proposals are aimed at producing a true digital single market, one with – in President Juncker’s optimistic words – “pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups”.

The Commission’s DSM strategy continues to develop through a number of different strands:

  1. Breaking down borders to cross-border commerce: The Commission is determined to break down a number of obstacles it perceives to be preventing cross-border e-commerce, looking in particular at establishing a common set of rules for digital purchases across Europe, at consumer protection and at increasing the availability of affordable cross-border parcel delivery.
  2. Geo-blocking, copyright and a media framework for the 21st century: The Geo-blocking Regulation aims to prevent “unjustified” geo-blocking, while the Commission is also focussed on “modernising” European copyright laws, through a new Copyright Directive, and creating a new media framework to recognise that consumers increasingly access content via the internet and mobile devices.
  3. Telecoms and online platforms: The Commission is proposing an ambitious overhaul of the current telecoms regulatory framework. It also continues to scrutinise the role of online platforms and what it sees as those platforms’ ability to dominate multiple sectors.
  4. Data protection and privacy: From the Network and Information Security Directive to the GDPR and the proposed e-Privacy Directive, data protection and privacy are central to the DSM strategy.
  5. Data and its uses: The Commission identifies a need for action in “ownership and access to data, in big data and analytics, in cloud services and science” and to ensure common standards to allow the seamless flow of data, whether in transport, healthcare, mobile payments or the Internet of Things.
  6. Competition matters: Competition law is at the heart of many aspects of the DSM strategy. In particular, the Commission is using its competition powers to tackle geo-blocking, while the e-commerce market investigation will enable it to examine all commercial restrictions to genuine cross-border trade.

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