What is the Digital Single Market?

Online shopping with credit card on laptop

Essential eCommerce explains what the European Commission is trying to achieve with its Digital Single Market.

So, what is the Digital Single Market?
The Digital Single Market is an attempt to modernise online trading in Europe, by standardising the currently fragmented pieces of legislation across member states. It will help to drive eCommerce across Europe, and the European Commission estimates it could add up to £375 billion a year to the EU economy.

Who will it effect?
Both consumers and businesses. If introduced, consumers will benefit from fairer online trading legislations, while businesses will able to deal with a standard set of regulations – such as VAT – rather than different rules for 28 different European Union states. This will help businesses grow and scale in order to compete in the digital world.

What the European Commission says:
“The Digital Single Market strategy, adopted on the 6 May 2015, includes 16 initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2016.

“The DSM can create opportunities for new startups and allow existing companies in a market of over 500 million people. Completing a Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe’s economy, create jobs and transform our public services.”

“An inclusive DSM offers opportunities for citizens also, provided they are equipped with the right digital skills. Enhanced use of digital technologies can improve citizens’ access to information and culture, improve their job opportunities. It can promote modern open government.”

Sounds great, when will it happen?
Well, the legislative process is only in its early stages and the European Commission said the earliest it could be implemented is the end of 2016.

What are the next steps?
The Commission delivered its strategy in May, outlining 16 steps it hopes to deliver by the end of 2016. The Digital Single Market is currently in consultation with the public and stakeholders, where issues like cross-border parcel delivery, intellectual property and geo-blocking will be discussed. But some legislative proposals have not even been drafted yet – the current audio-visual directive has not been reviewed and the telecoms market needs a legislative update, to name two examples.

The public consultations are listed on the European Commission’s website.  

Click here to read about the challenges and opportunities of the Digital Single Market on Essential eCommerce

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