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Digital Single Market: European Commission agrees areas for action

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en abril 11, 2015

Digital Single Market: European Commission agrees areas for action

Today’s orientation debate has set out three main areas on which Commission action will focus during this mandate:

1. Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services

• Facilitating cross-border e-commerce,especially for SMEs, with harmonised consumer and contract rules and with more efficient and affordable parcel delivery. Today only 15% of consumers shop online from another EU country – which is not surprising, if the delivery charge ends up higher than the actual price of the product

• Tackling geo-blocking: too many Europeans cannot use online services that are available in other EU countries, often without any justification; or they are re-routed to a local store with different prices. Such discrimination cannot exist in a Single Market.

• Modernising copyright law to ensure the right balance between the interests of creators and those of users or consumers. It will improve people’s access to culture – and therefore support cultural diversity – while opening new opportunities for artists and content creators and ensuring a better enforcement of rights.

• Simplifying VAT arrangements is important to boost the cross-border activities of businesses, especially SMEs. The cost and complexity of having to deal with foreign tax rules are a major problem for SMEs. The VAT-related costs due to different requirements are estimated at EUR 80 billion.

2. Shaping the environment for digital networks and services to flourish

• All digital services, applications and content depend on high-speed internet and secure networks: the lifeblood of new, innovative digital services. To encourage investment in infrastructure, the Commission will therefore review the current telecoms and media rules to make them fit for new challenges, in particular relating to consumer uses (for example the increasing number of voice calls made over the internet) and new players in the field.

• Spectrum is the air the internet breathes. Improving coordination among Member States is essential. Europe has witnessed significant delays in the roll-out of the latest 4G technology, as suitable spectrum was not available. Spectrum does not stop at national borders: a European approach to its management is needed to promote a genuine single market with pan-European services.

• The Commission will look into the growing importance of online platforms (search engines, social media, app stores, etc.) for a thriving internet-enabled economy. This includes looking at how to strengthen trust in online services through more transparency, how to include them in the online value chain, and to facilitate the swift removal of illegal content.

• Today, 72% of internet users in Europe are concerned about using online services because they worry that they have to reveal too much personal data online. The swift adoption of the Data Protection Regulation is key to boosting trust.

3. Creating a European Digital Economy and Society with long-term growth potential

• Industry is a key pillar of the European economy – the EU manufacturing sector accounts for 2 million companies and 33 million jobs. The Commission wants to help all industrial sectors integrate new technologies and manage the transition to a smart industrial system (“Industry 4.0”).

• Standards: ensuring interoperability for new technologies are essential for Europe’s competitiveness, they must be developed faster.

• The Commission also wants industry and society to make the most of out of the data economy. Large amounts of data are produced every second, created by persons or generated by machines, such as sensors gathering climate information, satellite imagery, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, or GPS signals. Big data is a goldmine, but it also raises important challenges, from ownership to data protection to standards. These need to be addressed to unlock its potential.

• The same goes for cloud computing, the use of which is rapidly growing: the proportion of digital data stored in the cloud is projected to rise from 20% in 2013 to 40% in 2020. While shared networks and resources can boost our economy, they also need the right framework to flourish and be used by more people, companies, organisations and public services across Europe.

• Europeans should also be able to fully benefit from interoperable e-services, from e-government to e-health, and develop their digital skills to seize the opportunities of the internet and boost their chances of getting a job.

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Europa: Commission to pursue role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance.

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en febrero 15, 2014

In the wake of large-scale Internet surveillance and reduced trust in the internet, the European Commission today proposes a key reform to the way the Internet is managed and run. The proposal calls for more transparent, accountable and inclusive governance.

Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “The next two years will be critical in redrawing the global map of Internet governance. Europe must contribute to a credible way forward for global internet governance. Europe must play a strong role in defining what the net of the future looks like.”

The Commission is committed to an internet that continues to serve fundamental freedoms and human rights, Kroes noted: “Our fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable. They must be protected online.”

The Commission proposes:

1.            Concrete actions such as:

  Establishment of a clear timeline for the globalisation of ICANN and the “IANA functions”

  A strengthening of the global Internet Governance Forum

  Launching an online platform for creating transparency on internet policies, the Global Internet Policy Observatory

  A review of conflicts between national laws or jurisdictions that will suggest possible remedies

2.            An ongoing commitment to improve the transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of the multi-stakeholder processes and those who participate in these processes

3.            A commitment to creating a set of principles of Internet governance to safeguard the open and unfragmented nature of the Internet

4.            A commitment to globalise key decision-making (for example the coordination of domain names and IP addresses) to safeguard the stability, security and resilience of the Internet.

Kroes said: “Some are calling for the International Telecommunications Union to take control of key Internet functions. I agree that governments have a crucial role to play, but top-down approaches are not the right answer. We must strengthen the multi-stakeholder model to preserve the Internet as a fast engine for innovation.”

The Commission firmly supports a real multi-stakeholder governance model for the Internet based on the full involvement of all relevant actors and organisations.

 

Internet Governance is a term used to describe the global arrangements that organise the resources and functions of the Internet. It is meant to ensure the proper functioning of the Internet, for example that any website is accessible from anywhere around the world, and that technical systems all work together no matter where you are, or what web addresses can be used around the world. The Internet developed as a distributed network of networks and operates without a centralised governing body. It is governed by various actors and organisations in multi-stakeholder arrangements.

Recent revelations of large-scale surveillance have called into question the stewardship of the US when it comes to Internet Governance. So given the US-centric model of Internet Governance currently in place, it is necessary to broker a smooth transition to a more global model while at the same time protecting the underlying values of open multi-stakeholder governance of the Internet.

The EU has been a key player in the 2002-2005 World Summit on the Information Society, which led to the design of the Internet governance system we have today. In 2009 the European Commission adopted a Communication (COM(2009)277, “Internet governance: the next steps”). The European Parliament and the Council have repeatedly called for an inclusive approach to Internet governance, safeguarding the multi-stakeholder model while making sure that European priorities are duly taken into account.

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