- Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services. This includes:
- Facilitating cross-border e-commerce, especially for SMEs, with harmonised consumer and contract rules and more efficient and affordable parcel delivery.
- Tackling geo-blocking to allow Europeans to use online services wherever they are within the EU, and on the same prices and terms.
- Modernising copyright law to ensure the right balance between the interests of creators and those of users or consumers.
- Simplifying VAT arrangements to boost the cross-border activities of businesses, especially SMEs.
- Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish. This will focus on how to encourage investment into Europe’s internet infrastructure. It will involve modernising existing telecoms and media rules to better address new consumer uses (e.g. increased use of VoIP) and new players in the field (e.g. digital platform providers). It will also include reform on how spectrum is allocated to network operators. The Data Protection Regulation is referenced as key to building a digital environment which users trust with their privacy.
- Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential. The Commission wants to help all industrial sectors integrate new technologies and manage the transition to a smart industrial system. This includes a particular focus on standards to ensure interoperability for new technologies; and encouraging big data and cloud computing within the right legal framework.
We must wait until May to see how these areas will be developed further. For now, we have our first indication as to what the creation of Europe’s Digital Single Market Strategy will involve – and it appears likely to involve proposals for legislative and regulatory reform.