Thursday, 21 July 2011

Digital Single Market in Digital Agenda for Europe

In the blog post 'Worth remembering: EU Digital Agenda launch' we looked at the press release and the two memos relating to the original communication A Digital Agenda for Europe; 19 May 2010 COM(2010) 245.

Earlier, including the 5 May 2010 resolution by the European Parliament, the perspective had been until 2015, but when the Digital Agenda was integrated into the Europe 2020 (EU2020)strategy framework, as one of the seven flagship initiatives, the timeline either changed or was silently toned down.

We noted some early reactions to the Digital Agenda, as well as the progress report on the single European communications market in 2009 COM(2010) 253 in Grahnlaw blog posts.

Some readers may still be interested in Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report 2010 (196 pages), which offers a systematic view of the challenges and the relative strengths of the EU member states at the time.

Digital Agenda replaced

The original communication was later replaced. The corrected version is available in the official languages of the European Union. The communication in English:

Annule et remplace le document COM(2010) 245 final du 19.5.2010
Concerne toutes les versions linguistiques

A Digital Agenda for Europe; Brussels, 26.8.2010 COM(2010) 245 final/2 (41 pages)

Even when anachronistic, it feels more natural to use the replacing version as our reference.


Yesterday, I looked at the framework and problems presented in the Introduction of the communication (in Swedish).

The Table of contents offers us an overview of the issues of the Digital Agenda:

1. Introduction
2. The action areas of the Digital Agenda
2.1. A vibrant digital single market
2.2. Interoperability and standards
2.3. Trust and security
2.4. Fast and ultra fast internet access
2.5. Research and innovation
2.6. Enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion
2.7. ICT-enabled benefits for EU society
2.8. International aspects of the Digital Agenda
3. Implementation and governance

Digital Single Market

The second chapter of the communication offered sections on the action areas of the Digital Agenda. First came the challenge of the Digital Single Market (section 2.1.), from page 7 to 14.

The communication noted that the Internet is borderless, but the European online markets highly fragmented. Consequently, the EU is falling behind in terms of offer to consumers and business models able to create jobs (page 7):

The single market therefore needs a fundamental update to bring it into the internet era.

The proposed actions at headline level, but with obstacles described as well as key actions and other actions outlined in the text:

Opening up access to content
Making online and cross border transactions straightforward
Building digital confidence
Reinforcing the single market for telecommunications services

Citizens, consumers and businesses need to press for pan-European rules and practices in order to turn the free movement of (digital) services into a reality, the Digital Single Market.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. The global trade association, the Business Software Alliance BSA, regretted that the communication on the Digital Agenda did not go further to protect the backbone of technology innovation in Europe with stronger measures on intellectual property (IP) rights.