Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

How can we foster a more competitive digital economy in Europe?

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— Posted by Isidro Laso Ballesteros, DG INFSO Scientific Officer in unit responsible for Networked Media Systems, Workshop organiser at Digital Agenda Assembly

The impact of the web is evident, across economic sectors and geographical areas. While the most celebrated players are US-based, there is a flourishing entrepreneurial basis in Europe, which is creating jobs and growth. Europe needs to foster this entrepreneurial basis, by removing the bottlenecks to growth, supporting and involving these new players in the policy debate.

  • What are the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the European digital entrepreneurs and SME's as regards access to financing (notably Venture Capital) and development of European cooperation platforms?
  • What are the most urgent policy actions to address key bottlenecks?
Apart from this blog, these issues will be discussed at the Digital Agenda Assembly (Brussels 16-17 June  - #daa11eu) in the workshop : Future digital economy: a chance for competitive and innovative European entrepreneurs and organisations.

Prior to that event you can debate and share you views online using the #daa11economy hashtag.


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Europe institutions just needs to stop take advise from the American companies and do what serves their own SMEs in ICT best, which promotes competition and access to market. For the American companies their European dependencies are just a sales pipe, they do not create Wertschöpfung and highly skilled employement in Europe. Also safe harbour rules are useful to stimulate participation of SMEs and quick growth. Legal risks are deadly for SMEs operations but a general market risk for the larger companies who can ignore the risks. In the States companies like Youtube or Google could quickly grow without too much legal risks despite their gray business operations. Google became famous as the fastest search engine to search pirated copies and Youtube still features a lot of unlicensed content but is generating business opportunities for content holders and does not systematically violate the law. In Europe for a SME a single legal case waged against them would kill them and companies could not afford to take the risks. Also US bankruptcy protection is quite beneficial to sustain companies forever.
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Learn from the Chinese, they do defend their markets against foreign companies and do not take sides with them (or worst of all join them like Detlef Eckert). We cannot pursue an open market policy when we lose the power to enforce our European interests in interface access, interoperability, privacy and competition. Free trade is beneficial but that doesn't mean to embrace the locust swarms. We have to identify key strategic challenges of the EU and overcome lock-in.