This is the kind of dialogue that is needed. We have to be much closer to our people.
- Vice-President Andrus Ansip -
Discussing the Digital Single Market with Citizens
European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, participated in a Citizens’ Dialogue in Sofia, together with Gergana Passi, Bulgaria’s Digital Champion.
Over 350 citizens gathered from all over Bulgaria on 21 April in Sofia's Paradise Centre to meet Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Ms. Passi to discuss with them about the EU's plans to extend the single market rules to the digital world. The Dialogue also touched upon a range of current issues of interest to Europe's citizens – from the Trans-Atlantic trade talks to Europe's defence challenges, e-Government and media freedom.
The borderless nature of digital technologies means it no longer makes sense for each EU country to have its own rules for telecommunications services, copyright, data protection or the management of radio spectrum. Creating a connected digital single market is one of the ten priorities of the current European Commission. Its completion could generate up to EUR 340 billion of additional growth in Europe, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, notably for young job-seekers, and a vibrant knowledge-based society.
Answering questions from the audience at the venue and sent via social media, Vice-President Ansip underlined that everyone will benefit from the Digital Single Market. "We have to keep our promises and abolish roaming surcharges", he emphasized. On cross-border online shopping he noted that Europe should get rid of online geo-blocking as soon as possible which is in his words "a form of discrimination".
Responding to a question about Europe's security and defence challenges, the Vice-president confirmed that the EU was not just conceived as a 'peace-keeping' project, but it still is one. "We have to invest in protecting peace in Europe", he added. With regards to TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) he emphasised that once the agreement is achieved, it will support Europe's competitiveness, it will boost European small and medium enterprises and will generate a 1.5% increase in GDP.
The event in Sofia was part of a series of Citizens' Dialogues that involve all Members of the European Commission and take place in all EU Member States.