10 May 2017   |   News

Commission takes stock of digital single market

Half way in, more effort is needed to develop Europe’s data economy and tackle cybersecurity, according to midterm review of digital single market strategy

The Commission has published a review of its digital single market strategy, taking stock of the progress made, calling on the Council and the European parliament to implement existing proposals and outlining further actions on online platforms, data economy and cybersecurity. 

Since launching the strategy in May 2015, the European Commission has delivered 35 legislative proposals and initiatives. Now the focus is now on getting agreement from the European Parliament and the Council, in particular on new telecoms rules that intended to boost investments in high-speed networks.

In the review, the Commission identifies three main areas where further EU action is needed -to develop the European data economy, tackle cybersecurity concerns that are holding back development of the market and to foster a fair internet ecosystem.

“The Commission has lived up to its promise and presented all main initiatives for building a digital single market. Now, the European parliament and member states need to adopt these proposals as soon as possible,” said Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the digital single market.

Two years into the project, the Commission is updating the strategy to reflect new challenges and technologies, Ansip said. “We need cyber-secure infrastructure across all parts of the EU so that everyone, everywhere, can enjoy high-speed connectivity safely. We have already agreed strong EU rules for personal data protection, we now need to make sure that non-personal data can flow freely to assist connected cars and eHealth services. We need high-performance computing along with a digitally skilled workforce to make the most out of the data economy.”

As former prime minister of Estonia, Ansip oversaw implementation of digital government initiatives that have pushed the country to first place in Europe in public sector digital services, according to the European Commission’s digital economy and society index, published in March.

When Estonia takes on the revolving EU presidency for the first time in July, one of the items high on the agenda is promoting the digital Europe strategy. Amongst other measures, Estonia will propose that free movement of data is recognised as the EU’s fifth freedom.

Future plans

On the data economy, the Commission is preparing legislative initiatives on the cross-border free flow of non-personal data for autumn 2017 and on accessibility and reuse of public and publicly-funded data for spring 2018.

In cybersecurity there are plans to review the EU strategy and the mandate of the EU Agency for Network and Information Security by 2017. There will also be proposals on cyber security standards, certification and labelling, to make connected objects more cyber secure.

In online platforms, by the end of 2017 the Commission aims to confront unfair contractual clauses and trading practices identified in platform-to-business relationships, to deal with illegal online hate speech and block the sale of counterfeit goods over the internet.

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