Policy areas

Background

Europeans often face barriers when using online tools and services. This is even though the EU has spent decades bringing down those barriers "offline".

Fragmentation and barriers that do not exist in the physical single market are holding the EU back. In a digital single market, there are fewer barriers, and more opportunities: it is a seamless area where people and business can trade, innovate and interact legally, safely, securely, and at an affordable cost, making their lives easier.

But at present, markets are largely domestic in terms of online services. Only 7% of EU small- and medium-sized businesses sell cross-border. This needs to change – putting the single market online.

It is the aim of the Juncker Commission to create a true digital single market, where the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured — and where citizens and businesses can seamlessly and fairly access online goods and services: whatever their nationality, and wherever they live.

The Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion to the European economy, boosting jobs, growth, competition, investment and innovation. It can expand markets and foster better services at better prices, offer more choice and create new sources of employment. It can create opportunities for new start-ups and allow existing companies to grow and profit within a market of over 500 million people.

A completed digital single market will also ensure that Europe maintains its position as a world leader in the digital economy, helping European companies to grow globally, and transforming our public services.

Objectives

Objectives include:

  1. Providing better access for consumers and business to online goods by:
    • Boosting e-commerce in the EU by tackling geoblocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient and promoting customer trust through better protection and enforcement.
    • Modernising the EU copyright rules to fit the digital age.
  2. Creating the right environment for digital networks and services by:
    • Updating the EU audiovisual rules and work with platforms to create a fairer environment for all players, promote European films, protect children and better tackle hate speech.
    • Ensuring cybersecurity in Europe, from raising the capabilities of the Member States to implementing the international cooperation on cybersecurity and cybercrime.
    • Ensuring everyone in the EU will have the best possible internet connection, so they can participate fully in the digital economy, the so-called "connectivity for a European gigabit society".
    • Adapting ePrivacy rules to the new digital environment.
  3. Maximising the growth potential of the European digital economy and of its society through:

 

The mid-term review of the digital single market strategy

Since May 2015, the European Commission has delivered 35 legislative proposals and policy initiatives as announced in its digital single market strategy. The focus is now on obtaining political agreement with the European Parliament and the Council on all proposals, above all the updated EU telecoms rules which will boost investments in high-speed and quality networks, which are critical for the full deployment of the digital economy and society.

The digital single market strategy has also delivered key legislative proposals such as boosting e-commerce, modernising copyright, audiovisual, and ePrivacy rules, harmonising digital rights, guarantying affordable parcel delivery, and harmonising VAT rules.

In order to ensure a fair, open and secure digital environment, the Commission has identified three main areas where further EU action is needed:

  • to develop the European data economy to its full potential
  • to protect Europe's assets by tackling cybersecurity challenges
  • to promote the online platforms as responsible players of a fair internet ecosystem.

In addition, the Commission will present various non-legislative areas on digital skills, digitising industry and services, modernising public services, health and care, as well as the global dimension of the Digital single market. It will also address the need for further investment in high performance computing technology, digital health and care (to facilitate cross-border health data exchanges) and cooperative, connected and automated mobility (to encourage investment in cross-border trials).

More information on the Digital Policy website.

 

Documents