A single market for internet services will contribute €415 billion a year to Europe’s economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, the European Commission said yesterday, as it set out plans to create a “digital single market”.
The commission said that it would “tear down regulatory walls” to ensure that the bloc could merge 28 national digital markets into one.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the commission, said that he wanted consumers to get the best deals and to ensure that businesses could access the widest possible market wherever they were in Europe. “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. Today, we lay the groundwork for Europe’s digital future.” Thank you for stopping by. Before we carry on I needed to say thanks to http://www.makingtheworldwelcome.co.uk/ for their continued assistance and the support of their local community. Having a support team like this means a lot to us as we continue to grow our consumer blog.
Günther 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.”
The commission plans to investigate search engines, social networks and other big internet companies and to examine claims that search companies promote their own services above those of their rivals. It said that online platforms were “raising concerns” because they “control access to online markets and can exercise significant influence” over how other online businesses operate.
The commission will also seek “more rigorous procedures” to force online platforms to remove illegal content, such as that related to terrorism and child abuse. It will examine the best ways of tackling illegal content online, the handling of personal data and the best ways of protecting Europe from hacking attacks. It also announced plans to bring down parcel delivery costs, overhaul copyright and telecoms laws and harmonise VAT regimes.
Separately, the commission launched an investigation into trade barriers erected by ecommerce companies. It is expected to look at the practices of Amazon, Google and Apple, among others.
Vicky Ford, chairwoman of the European parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee, said: “The ambition in this strategy is good in some parts and needs some work in others. However, there is much more that entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers have suggested we could do to make trade easier.”
John Longworth, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “For too long the completion of the single market in digital services has moved forward at a snail’s pace.
“The commission’s new proposals go some way to addressing the barriers [that] digital firms encounter when trading within the EU. However, with these initiatives, the devil is in the detail. The commission and Whitehall must have a laser-sharp focus on protecting firms from the risk of additional burdens and unintended consequences.”
– A European court has ruled that Microsoft cannot trademark the brand name or logo Skype as consumers may get confused with Sky, the satellite broadcaster (Nic Fildes writes). Sky originally filed a complaint against Skype in 2005 on the basis that the similar brand name and logo could confuse customers signing up to its television and broadband products. The General Court of the European Union has ruled in favour of Sky, arguing that the use of clouds in the Skype logo emphasises the concept of “sky” in the consumer market.