Yesterday, 6 May, Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Günther Oettinger unveiled their Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy by outlining how the Commission will undertake 16 initiatives over the next five years, including legal proposals for a “modern, more European” copyright law, e-privacy and telecoms.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross border and a wave of innovative European start-ups.”
The strategy is built on three pillars:
- better access for users to digital goods and services by eliminating the barriers for cross-border online activities.
- creating the right conditions and a level playing field for innovation: ultrafast, secure and reliable infrastructure, fair competition
- maximizing economic growth potential by investing in ICT infrastructure, cloud computing and big data research.
What's in for SMEs and start-ups?
- Clearer rules to sell cross-border and scale-up businesses in a market of more than 500 million consumers
- Less costs to grow cross-border: no need to adapt to each country’s consumer law and a VAT system better adapted to small e-commerce businesses
- More opportunities with greater access to content, goods and services from other EU countries
- Lower parcel delivery prices
- A level-playing field for competing actors on the market: every company, small or big, plays by the rules
- Standards and greater interoperability to develop products and services faster, reduce risks and costs
- Fewer burdens dealing with public administration - efficient e-services to save time and money; more market access through public e-procurement and e-signatures
- Better access to finance and simplified company law
As regards supportive financial investment to help research and innovative businesses and generate investor confidence, the EU Structural and Investment Funds are expected to programme around 21,4 billion. Complementing current EU programmes, the European Fund for Strategic Investment will support a wide range of digital projects which show high innovation and research component (and thus higher risk). In addition, innovative entrepreneurs need increased access to equity and venture capital. Further work enabling startups getting appropriate financing will be done to facilitate investment in EU start-up ventures and scale up their businesses. The EC will work closely with the European Investment Bank to ensure available investment funds are fully used, including technical assistance and the full use of synergies between funding instruments.
The EU is the world's first exporter of digital services. The SMD Strategy wants to make the EU an even more attractive location for global companies. Through EU's new Trade and Investment Strategy to be presented in autumn 2015, an ambitious digital trade and investment policy should be further developed.
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