Since May 2015, the European Commission has delivered on all proposals and policy initiatives announced in its Digital Single Market strategy. It has presented 35 proposals and policy initiatives which all seek to remove existing online barriers and allowing citizens, business and governments to benefit from the growing connected online digital market place.
Overall, good progress has been made and agreements have been reached on most of these proposals. The allocation of the 700 MHz band, portability of online content and wholesale roaming charges are all about to become law. However, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU still need to agree on a lot more. I look forward to the ongoing good cooperation with the other co-legislators to reach an agreement on the three critical packages for the Digital Single Market strategy: telecoms package, copyright and distance selling rules by 2018.
In addition to the Communication, the Commission has published today the annual Europe's Digital Progress Report 2017 (EDPR), which monitors progress in digital policies in the Member States, such as developments in connectivity, digital skills or use of internet by citizens and by business. We are living through a digital revolution which is transforming our societies. We are measuring these developments closely to be able to act quickly to address the issues raised through digitisation.
Indeed, it is essential that the EU grasps the opportunities of digital technology. Digitisation will help businesses to remain competitive, enable EU startups to scale up quickly, with full use of cloud computing, big data solutions, robotics and high speed broadband, thereby creating new jobs, increased productivity and sustainability. The Commission’s Review has outlined three main areas where the EU needs to act further to ensure a fair, open and secure digital environment:
- We will propose initiatives to spur the European data economy by clarifying rules on the cross-border flow of non-personal data based on principles such as free movement of data and prepare an initiative to improve access and reuse of publically funded data.
- We will work to tackle growing cybersecurity challenges by reviewing the EU Cybersecurity Strategy and the mandate of European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), to align it to the new EU-wide framework on cybersecurity leading to improved security in the EU
- We will also work to promote fairness and responsibility of online platforms in two areas:
- review platform to business trading practices and ensure a fair and innovation-friendly business environment; and
- work with platforms to ensure that illegal content online can be easily reported and effectively removed.
Finally, the Review has also shown that substantial additional investment in digital skills and infrastructure and technologies will be needed. We will therefore work on these issues as well as high performance computing, e-health, connected cars. We will also look a digitisation in the global context and closer to home, in our working lives.
A lot already done. But still, a lot more to do.