The Digital Single Market strategy: Focused. Ambitious. Effective?
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, made it clear when he took office that he wanted to complete a truly integrated European Digital Single Market (‘DSM’). It has been earmarked as one of his top ten priorities, one which would transform the European landscape – bringing jobs, growth and investment, positioning Europe as a leader in the digital economy in an increasingly competitive global environment.
In a regional economy that still remains deeply affected by the global financial crisis, the European Commission estimates that by 2019 implementation of the DSM Strategy could also contribute an additional €415 billion to European GDP and potentially create up to 4 million new jobs.
Announcing the DSM strategy in Brussels today, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, together with Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, have outlined their strategy for 2015-2016. It is a highly ambitious roadmap which is likely to have a major impact across the EU and beyond, not just within the ICT sector but across the European economy and society. A string of reactions is to be expected from consumer organisations, bound to feel a little short-changed, and industry stakeholders, fearful of over regulation. The European Parliament, who prepared for this behind closed doors, will scrutinise the strategy in detail, with two Committees, IMCO (Internal Market and Consumer Protection) and ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) battling out who will take charge of this strategy.
How much of the strategy will make it through will depend on the European Council and Member States’ willingness for increased regulation. Given the examples set by the Telecom Single Market (‘TSM’) and the Cybersecurity Directive currently being negotiated, the Commission faces an uphill battle and will have to deploy all its diplomatic skills to ensure some real positive results. Lessons from the past should not be ignored.