Members of the European Union (EU) College of Commissioners emerged from an orientation meeting on Wednesday with plans to develop regulatory and other strategies toward a single, EU-wide market for digital network and e-commerce services.
Complaining that “digital services too often remain confined to national borders” and that digital opportunities throughout the EU are often thwarted by barriers that range from “geo-blocking or cross-border parcel delivery efficiencies to unconnected e-services,” the commissioners agreed to create a “Digital Single Market Strategy” by May that will focus on three goals. The first area for action is improvement of consumer and business access to digital goods and services. To that end, the European Commission (EC) will strive to (1) facilitate cross-border e-commerce, (2) eliminate geo-blocking practices through which video sharing websites limit access to their content to certain countries, (3) modernize copyright law “to ensure the right balance between the interests of creators and those of users or consumers,” and (4) simplify value-added tax arrangements to boost cross-border business activities. As part of its second goal, which is to shape the environment for robust digital networks and services, the EC said it would review current media and telecommunications rules to encourage investment in infrastructure and improve spectrum coordination among EU member states. To bring about its third goal of establishing a digital economy with “long term growth potential,” the EC is urging swifter development of standards that ensure “interoperability for new technologies.”