EU parliament accelerates Digital Single Market

EPA/JEFF CHRISTENSEN

EU parliament accelerates Digital Single Market


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The European Parliament has passed a resolution urging the European Union to immediately table the 16 Digital Single Market initiatives announced by the European Commission last May.

The recommendations to boost the Digital Single Market were approved by 551 votes to 88, with 39 abstentions.

“We have ensured that this report on the digitisation of the EU economy, society and public administrations determines legislative and non-legislative action to benefit  consumers and to preserve Europe’s competitive social market economies”, said Internal Market Committee co-rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE).

“Europe has already missed two waves of innovation. First social networks, then the sharing economy. If we don’t want to miss the next wave, we have to look to the Internet of Things, Big Data and machine-to-machine communication. They can radically transform our economy and our legislation needs to reflect that,” said Industry Committee co-rapporteur Kaja Kallas (ALDE, ET).

As reported by the online news site Computer Weekly, the parliament urged a more open approach to providing digital goods and services, and called for the EU to be more proactive in seizing on the opportunities around big data, cloud, the internet of things and 3D printing.

High on the agenda was the banning of geo-blocking practices, which prevent many EU citizens from accessing online goods and services on the basis of their IP address, postal address or country of issue of credit cards.

The resolution described this practice as “unjustified” and said it must end. MEPs supported the proposal on improving cross-border portability of online content services within the EU as a good first step, but also called for legislators to go further and ensure equivalent and future-proofed consumer protection, whether digital content was bought on or offline.

According to a European Parliament press service, there is concern about the differing national approaches taken so far by EU member states to regulating the internet and the “sharing economy”, which offers new business models for selling goods and services online (for example, Uber, eBay or Airbnb).

Other topics addressed in the resolution include copyright, telecoms, VAT rules, audiovisual media, e-skills, e-government, and employment rights.

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