Progress in the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy

Three years after the EU adopted the Digital Single Market Strategy, progress has been made, with 12 legislative proposals out of 29 being agreed by the European Parliament and the Council. Major new laws such as the GDPR and the end of mobile roaming charges are all part of the Digital Single Market Strategy which are already in place, while there are other laws which will be in place in short time.

In short, the whole aim of the Digital Single Market is to maximise the digitisation of the European service sectors by having an open market where it is easy for businesses and people to operate as effectively anywhere in Europe as it is in their home Member State. The strategy adopted by the Commission is based on ensuring that there is substantial additional investment in digital skills and infrastructure at EU level. The strategy aims at having a clear and stable legal environment in this area in order to stimulate innovation and allow all stakeholders to delve into the new market under fair and balanced conditions. The Commission will provide full range of policy instruments and funding opportunities in order for EU businesses to grasp the opportunities of digital technology to remain competitive at global level and for EU start-ups to be able to scale up quickly.

The next step of the Digital Market Strategy is now to ensure that laws which are in place are being enforced in practice by national authorities. There are other laws, such as the ePrivacy regulation, which are currently under negotiation in the European Parliament and the Council, and the Commission is urging the Council to swiftly agree on its negotiation position so that negotiations with the European Parliament can start by June 2018 and be adopted by the end of this year.

This week, the EU leaders met in Sofia, where the Commission presented a set of concrete actions that the EU leaders can take to protect the privacy of EU citizens and to make the Digital Single Market a reality by the end of this year. The Commission invited EU leaders to discuss on how to achieve the following targets:

  1. Mobilising the necessary public and private investments to deploy latest digital technology;

  2. Ensuring that the regulation on free flow of non-personal data is agreed by co-legislators by June 2018;

  3. Ensuring that the Electronic Communications Code, aiming at boosting investment in high-speed and high-quality networks across the EU, should also be finalised by June 2018.

  4. Helping Member States equip EU citizens with the digital skills they will need in today’s and tomorrow’s digital economy and society; and

  5. Ensure that all other pending Digital Single Market proposals be agreed by the end of 2018.