VIOLA STRENGTHENS PRIORITY IN DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET FOR EU

new-carousel-dsmalt-500x254pxTo maintain the leading role of the European Union (EU) in reinforcing the implementation strategy of a single digital agenda for the 28 countries. This is the goal of the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (CONNECT) of the European Commission (EC), reinforced this week (12/10) by the Director General of that DG, Roberto Viola, during the session of Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee in order to update MEPs on the measures relating to the project.

“The Digital Single Market strategy aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy” said Viola.

The debate lasted one hour and was attended by several representatives of various political groups. Many showed concerns about the regulatory differences between member countries. “It is not feasible to synchronize 28 national approaches of the seven key pillars for building the Digital Single Market. If the EU wants to take advantage of the new era of the digital revolution to reposition itself competitively in the global market, it has to set an common vision and implement a governance model, from which will emerge the basis of a European digital identity”, said the MEP Carlos Zorrinho, member of ITRE Committee, of Transversal Groups Digital Agenda (EP) and Digital Europe (S&D) and also a member of the EUBrasil.

“At EUBrazil we have welcomed the European Digital Single Market Strategy because it sets the basis for the first time a further development of the European digital economy. I fully share the message of Director General Roberto Viola as well as his commitment to achieve the objectives of the strategy. EUBrazil is ready to work with the European Commission to promote stronger cooperation between the European and the Brazilian ICT companies”, evaluated Luigi Gambardella, president of EUBrasil.

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Highlights:

Reform of the Copyright rules: The EC has already taken the first steps and later this year will have more information about future legislation and will then develop a set of legislative proposals for 2016.

Reform of audiovisual rules: It is still investigating to verify that the existing rules are up to date.

Broadband Internet: Viola said the EC will determine whether the contractual rules, for example with regard to digital content, may or may not be harmonized and simplified for companies that offer online services. In this respect, the Commission intends to table legislative proposals by the end of the year.

End of roaming charges: Under the agreement, roaming surcharges in the EU will be abolished on 15 June 2017. The reduction of roaming tariffs will take place on April 30, 2016. The Council and Parliament will formally adopt the agreed text. “Citizens may have in fact, the sense of walking through a Europe without digital borders”, said Viola. “The review of the roaming could be completed soon and successfully”, he added.

Net Neutrality: Net neutrality means that all information that travels on the network should be treated equally, sailing at the same speed. This principle guarantees the free access to any kind of information on the Internet. “We published a survey showing that 30% of European citizens cannot use the network speed (internet) they are entitled. We hope to reach a European scale with a single law “, said Viola.

Traffic management: The EP can confirm in a second reading stating that better access to the internet is illegal in Europe. It is possible to offer more speed and differentiated services, but not  to pay more to have better access; open Internet cannot be differentiated, according to Viola.

Safe Harbour Agreement: After the cancellation of the agreement between the EU and the United States for the transfer of personal data, the next step is to work with the data protection authorities in the EU so that guidance can be given to American companies located in Europe on how to proceed from now on. “It is necessary for the data protection regulation to be adopted as soon as possible so we can have common rules in relation to data protection in Europe”, according to Viola.

Geo-Blocking: The barriers to cross-border transactions should be eliminated. In 2014, 15% of consumers shopped online in other Member States, while 44% made purchases in their own States. “Online sales between Member States have their transaction refused very often. Our goal is to have a Europe without digital borders”, Viola said.

In the first half of 2016 the EC intends to present an initiative on geo-blocking and in mid 2016, present the reform of telecom rules. “Our ambition is that all citizens should be connected; we have a huge challenge that will require appropriate rules for the future”, said Viola.

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Context:

The Digital Single Market strategy, adopted on the 6 May 2015, includes 16 initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2016. The DSM can create opportunities for new startups and enable existing companies in a market of over 500m people. Completing a Digital Single Market could contribute € 415 billion per year to Europe’s economy, create jobs and transform our public services. Read more at this link.