The European Commission has published a raft of proposals as
part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, focusing on
facilitating cross-border trade and e-commerce.
What's the issue?
The original purpose of the European Union was to encourage
trade between Member States by removing barriers and encouraging
free movement of goods, services and people. One area where
barriers are perceived to remain is around digital goods and
On 6 May 2015, the European Commission's Digital Single Market
(DSM) strategy was announced in order to break down these barriers.
At its core are three 'pillars':
better online access for consumers
and businesses across Europe;
creating the right conditions and a
level playing field for advanced digital networks and innovative
maximising the growth potential of
the digital economy.
What's the development?
The European Commission has unveiled further measures as part of
the DSM Strategy, covering online platforms, proposed amendments to
the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), geo-blocking and
As part of its drive towards replicating the 'real
world' single market for buying and selling goods and services
in the online world, today's announcements include:
plans to address the current
disincentivisation of online platforms to take a more proactive
approach to combating, for example, copyright infringement and hate
speech, by seeking it out, rather than relying on
amendments to the AVMSD which would increase regulation of
streaming services such as Netflix, to bring them closer in line
with traditional television viewing platforms, as well as
introducing a quota of European content for such services;
a proposal for a Regulation on addressing geo-blocking and
other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality,
place of residence or place of establishment within the internal
market, which, in its current form, excludes audiovisual media
a proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery
services aimed at increasing transparency and regulatory oversight
to promote affordable cross-border deliveries and returns; and
The Commission set itself an ambitious timeframe in which to put
through its reforms. While it is roughly sticking to schedule in
terms of making proposals, getting them agreed is likely to be a
different matter and it must be said that in a rush to stick to the
timetable, some of the more difficult issues are simply being
shelved. A case in point is that the proposed geo-blocking
Regulation specifically excludes audio-visual services (often the
focus of geo-blocking concerns) from its remit. Nonetheless, anyone
conducting cross-border trade in the EU (whether from inside or
outside), will need to keep a close watch on developments
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