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Digital Single Market strategy: Must keep focus on opportunities and break down barriers

6 May 2015

Digital Single Market strategy: Must keep focus on opportunities and break down barriers

Vicky Ford MEP, who chairs the European Conservatives and Reformists Group’s DSM policy group, responded to the European Commission’s much-expected launch of its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy today.

Responding to the European Commission’s much-expected launch of its Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy today, Vicky Ford MEP, who chairs the European Conservatives and Reformists Group’s DSM policy group, said:

“The ambition in this strategy is good in some parts and needs some work in others. Grand plans have stalled in the past so the Commission is right to focus much of its attention on breaking down barriers and removing unnecessary red tape. However, there is much more that entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers have suggested we could do to make trade easier and I would like to see many more suggestions from end users taken up in this area.

“Consumers do get frustrated when their favourite music, films or programs are not available when they travel. However, actions to increase portability and removing geographical barriers to accessing content must go hand in hand with measures to reduce illegal content and make sure creators and innovators are fairly paid. Otherwise we will have little decent content at all.

“Targeted measures to build more confidence in digital goods such as model contracts and online review tools would be preferable to a full-scale review of the Consumer Rights Directive, and we will be concerned if new proposals on consumer rights were to lead to a lowering of consumer protections in any countries.

“The Commission must take care to ensure that any new laws are well designed and details are properly considered. Old-style one size fits all legislation or heavy handed EU bans would hit investor confidence and risk setting back the progress that has been made in many member states and in many parts of the digital sector in Europe.

“I am pleased to see that the commission is now backing an EU wide exemption, a threshold, for micro businesses from the new VAT rules for cross border sales of digital goods. This has been a bureaucratic nightmare for many one-man or one-woman companies. We need to make sure that the single market works well for small businesses as well as the big ones.

“The Commission is also proposing further action on cyber-security and on important areas such as safety for children when operating online. Personally I hope that more progress can be made internationally in these areas.”

The MEP, who also chairs the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee, concluded:

“This strategy will be seen as a compromise by some who want the EU to deliver a one-size-fits-all approach, with grand regulators and master plans, but the Digital Single Market needs a Commission that sets a basic framework, since digital entrepreneurs will do the hard part. It is very important that the Commission and legislators keep a positive focus. Digital markets are exciting, diverse and ever-evolving and unlocking the Digital Single Market has huge potential to boost growth and create jobs.”

The ECR Policy Group on the DSM proposed a series of suggestions for inclusion in the paper, many of which have been taken up. To read the paper go to: http://ecrgroup.eu/news/ecr-digital-single-market-policy-group-publishes-discussion-paper/

Read the Commission paper here: http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/docs/dsm-communication_en.pdf

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