For the European Commission, the New Year kicked off straightaway with a visit to Amsterdam and The Hague last week to mark the start of the Dutch Presidency of the EU Council.
This is a vital role, also for the Digital Single Market (DSM) since the Netherlands will be spearheading the negotiations of many forthcoming DSM initiatives.
I had the opportunity to discuss with Dutch government ministers what we are planning for the DSM over the next six months. Their warm reception and comments show me that we are very much "on the same page" when it comes to digital matters and Europe's digital future. But it is clear that we all have a great deal to do this year.
Since the Dutch visit, rule of law came somewhat unexpectedly onto the Commission agenda.
This week, at our regular meeting, we debated the situation in Poland, also in the context of public service broadcasters.
My view is firstly, that we should have full confidence in Polish democracy – because after all, Poland is a full member of the European Union, one with proven democratic credentials.
And secondly, that we will soon be able to clarify the situation, especially around the Constitutional Tribunal, something that we agreed that Frans Timmermans will now take up with the Polish authorities before we discuss the matter again.
To return to the DSM, we will be working closely with our Dutch friends to move things forward as much as possible.
Last month, the Commission presented the first two DSM proposals – the first, on aligning consumer digital contract rules around the EU; the second, on ensuring the portability of legally acquired content when Europeans travel across borders.
Guaranteeing cross-border portability is especially important given the forthcoming end of roaming surcharges: from mid-June 2017, you will pay the same price to use a mobile phone while travelling in the EU as you do at home.
When they travel, people want to be able to use their mobile devices to access content they have paid for. EU rules should allow them to do this.
As technical and political negotiations get properly underway on both proposals, it means detailed discussions with the European Parliament, in committees and at plenary sessions, and of course with all EU Member States.
Of course, nothing will – or can – happen overnight. But it is important now to get things moving: if these proposals are to become reality, especially before the end of this Commission's five-year term in office, speed is of the essence. In addition, the digital economy is not going to wait for us.
The rest of the DSM proposals will come during 2016. First, we will have a package of measures for industry – including on the 700 MHz band, cloud and an ICT standards plan – starting in early spring.
Then, an e-commerce package including a legislative proposal to tackle unjustified geo-blocking. It will not come as a surprise when I say that this subject is of particular importance to me; I firmly believe that people and businesses should not be restrained by barriers when they shop or sell online.
There will be a string of other important proposals in 2016 in key DSM work areas: more on reforming Europe's telecoms laws, on cyber security and to promote the free flow of data, just to mention a few; more to come this year on copyright as well, as we set out in the strategy paper last month.
As you know, we plan to finalise all the DSM proposals by the end of this year. Along with the usual rounds of meetings, events and speaking engagements – in Brussels, other EU countries and outside Europe too – I expect to be very busy throughout 2016.
I will keep you updated as much as I can. Another blog soon.