Communication: A digital single market strategy for Europe

Author (Corporate)
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Series Details (2015) 192 final (6.5.15)
Publication Date 06/05/2015
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The global economy is rapidly becoming digital. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is no longer a specific sector but the foundation of all modern innovative economic systems. The Internet and digital technologies are transforming the lives we lead, the way we work – as individuals, in business, and in our communities as they become more integrated across all sectors of our economy and society.

These changes are happening at a scale and speed that bring immense opportunities for innovation, growth and jobs. They also raise challenging policy issues for public authorities which require coordinated EU action. All Member States are wrestling with similar problems but on a national basis which is too limited to allow them to seize all the opportunities and deal with all the challenges of this transformational change. For many issues the European level offers the right framework. That is why the European Commission has set the creation of a Digital Single Market as one of its key priorities.

A Digital Single Market is one in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured and where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. Achieving a Digital Single Market will ensure that Europe maintains its position as a world leader in the digital economy, helping European companies to grow globally.

Europe has the capabilities to lead in the global digital economy but we are currently not making the most of them. Fragmentation and barriers that do not exist in the physical Single Market are holding the EU back. Bringing down these barriers within Europe could contribute an additional €415 billion to European GDP. The digital economy can expand markets and foster better services at better prices, offer more choice and create new sources of employment. A Digital Single Market can create opportunities for new start-ups and allow existing companies to grow and profit from the scale of a market of over 500 million people.

This Digital Single Market Strategy has benefitted from input and dialogue with Member States, the European Parliament and stakeholders. It has a multi-annual scope and is focused on key interdependent actions that can only be taken at EU level. They have been chosen to have maximum impact, can be delivered during this Commission's mandate, and will be taken forward in line with Better Regulation principles. Each action will be subject to appropriate consultation and impact assessment.

The Digital Single Market Strategy will be built on three pillars:
- Better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe. This requires the rapid removal of key differences between the online and offline worlds to break down barriers to cross-border online activity.
- Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish. This requires high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures and content services, supported by the right regulatory conditions for innovation, investment, fair competition and a level playing field.
- Maximising the growth potential of our European Digital Economy. This requires investment in ICT infrastructures and technologies such as Cloud computing and Big Data, and research and innovation to boost industrial competiveness as well as better public services, inclusiveness and skills.

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Related Links
EUR-Lex: COM(2015)192: Follow the progress of this communication through the decision-making procedure
ESO: Background information: A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen
EUR-Lex: SWD(2015)100: A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe - Analysis and Evidence

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