30 March 2015
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

EC outlines digital single market priorities

A digital single market, where national borders no longer block digital services, will allow everyone in the EU to benefit from the same, accessible service, says the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. The European Commission will publish plans for a digital single market in May. It aims to give consumers and businesses better access to digital goods and services.

A debate was held on 25 March in Brussels to discuss what the plans should include.

Geo-blocking, which sees users in one EU member state prevented from accessing content in another due to the type of licence issued to the website, or re-routed to another where content is available at a different price, was high on the agenda. “Such discrimination cannot exist in a single market,” said the commission in a statement.

Andrus Ansip, vice president for the digital single market, added: “Let us do away with all those fences that block us online. Innovative businesses must be helped to grow across the EU, not remain locked into their home market.”

Copyright laws should also be modernised to ensure the right balance between the interests of creators and users to improve access to culture.

“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,” said the Commission.

The European Commission also plans to look into the growing importance of online platforms such as apps, search engines and social media. This will be by establishing trust in online services through transparency and removing illegal content, it explained.

“This will be an uphill struggle all the way, but we need an ambitious start. Europe should benefit fully from the digital age: better services, more participation and new jobs,” added Ansip.

Among the other areas raised in the debate were improving internet infrastructure and embracing and protecting data.

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