The Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy was unveiled on 6 May 2015, a flagship of the Junker presidency. The scope of the strategy has always been ambitious but despite having made significant progress in a number of areas, with the launch of 35 legislative proposals and policy initiatives, only six of these proposals have been adopted, some of them this year.
Regulation on the portability of online content
As we reported in June, one of the successes of 2017 was the adoption of the Regulation on the Portability of Online Content. The overarching aim of the Regulation is to ensure that consumers can benefit from online content services they have lawfully paid for, when they are temporarily in Member States outside their State of residence. This will benefit EU citizens on holiday, travelling in the EU on business, or temporarily studying in another Member State.
Regulation on prevention of unjustified geo-blocking
The EC has announced political agreement on the Regulation to address unjustified geo-blocking. The Regulation sets out three situations where no justification and no objective criteria for different treatment between customers from different EU Member States are conceivable from the outset sale of goods without physical delivery
The Regulation does not impose an obligation to sell and does not harmonise prices. It does, however, address discrimination in access to goods and services in cases where it cannot be objectively justified (e.g. by VAT obligations or different legal requirements).
The Regulation now has to be confirmed by the Member States and formally approved and the new rules will then come directly into force after nine months from the publication in the EU Official Journal, to allow small traders, in particular, to adapt.
Mid-term review and work programme 2018
As we discussed in May, as part of its mid-term review of the DSM project, the Commission highlighted three key areas as requiring further action: the data economy, cybersecurity and online platforms.
In November, we covered the Commission’s 2018 Work Programme. It prioritised completion of the Electronic Communications Code, the proposed copyright reform, cybersecurity proposals and consumer protection proposals. Alongside this, the EC plans to present proposals on fairness in platform-to-business relations, countering fake news and revising guidelines on significant market power in the electronic communications sector. In addition, it has highlighted facilitating the development of new technologies including autonomous vehicles and AI.