The European Commission (the Commission) is taking steps to advance its vision of what it calls a “Digital Single Market” that will ensure “free movement of goods, persons, services and capital”; easy access to and use of online content and services; and fair competition in the digital marketplace, regardless of consumers’ and businesses’ nationality or place of residence. The Commission will investigate contractual, geographic barriers to e-commerce transactions, which may fragment digital markets in the European Union.

Depending on the investigation’s ultimate findings, the Commission may take several measures, including the following:

  • Prohibitions on restricting online content and services on a geographic basis
  • Telecommunication and online platform market inquiries
  • Uniform consumer and contract rules
  • Data protection reforms
  • Simplified value-added tax rules
  • Faster development of uniform standards
  • Measures to help businesses integrate and harness new technologies

Companies should monitor future developments regarding the Commission’s pursuit of a Digital Single Market as they unfold.