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European Commission lays out its plans for a digital single market

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European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker today said a digital single market would improve commerce for consumers and business alike as he set out a 16 step strategy to make it a reality.

By creating such a market across the 28 markets of the EU, the EC aims to “tear down regulatory walls” to impprove consumer and business access to digital goods and services across Europe, to create the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and services to flourish, while also ensuring the digital economy reaches its potential growth.

“Today, we lay the groundwork for Europe’s digital future,” said Juncker. “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe. Exactly a year ago, I promised to make a fully Digital Single Market one of my top priorities. Today, we are making good on that promise. The 16 steps of our Digital Single Market Strategy will help make the Single Market fit for a digital age.”

The 16 steps include simplifying cross-border ecommerce, encouraging more efficient and affordable parcel delivery and cutting the red tape of managing different EU VAT regimes. Other measures include ending “unjustified” geo-blocking to prevent customers buying from websites in different markets, as well as analysing the role of online platforms, from search engines to social media and app stores, to find whether search results are transparent, how pricing varies and how the platforms use the information that they acquire.

Günther H. Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: “Our economies and societies are going digital. Future prosperity will depend largely on how well we master this transition. Europe has strengths to build on, but also homework to do, in particular to make sure its industries adapt, and its citizens make full use of the potential of new digital services and goods. We have to prepare for a modern society and will table proposals balancing the interests of consumers and industry.”

The Digital Single Market is set to be on the agenda of the European Council meeting on June 25 to 26, and the responsible project team is briefed to deliver on the 16 point strategy by the end of 2016, with the Digital Single Market in place “as soon as possible.”

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