Europe unveils digital single market strategy

Europe unveils digital single market strategy

The European Commission has announced that consumers and businesses will gain better access to digital content and goods as it unveiled its "digital single market" strategy for the region.

The Commission said it will seek to clamp down on so-called geo-blocking, in which businesses restrict access to content based on the user’s geographical location.

"These unjustified practices should be expressly prohibited so that EU customers and businesses can take full advantage of the single market in terms of choice and lower prices," said the Commission, which is the administrative body for the 28-nation European Union.

Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission said: "Our strategy is an ambitious and necessary programme of initiatives that target areas where the EU can make a real difference. They prepare Europe to reap the benefits of a digital future."

In its proposal, which includes 16 initiatives, the Commission said it will also seek to create a level playing field for digital networks and services and maximise the growth potential of the digital economy.  

"The aim of the digital single market is to tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one. A fully functional digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs," said the body. 

In addition the Commission said it will conduct a comprehensive assessment of online platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazonto decide if they should be further regulated. "Some platforms can control access to online markets and can exercise significant influence over how various players are remunerated," said the Commission. 

Ansip said that the proposals will give people and companies the online freedoms to profit fully from Europe's huge internal market. "The initiatives are inter-linked and reinforce each other. They must be delivered quickly to better help to create jobs and growth. The strategy is our starting point, not the finishing line," he said.