Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Digital Single Market

The Digital Single Market is a strategy introduced by the European Commission on 6th May 2015. The Digital Single Market would mean a universal digital economic zone for the 28 member countries, as opposed to 28 national markets.

The idea behind it is that the single market for Europe already enables the free movement of people, goods and capital between the EU countries, but in the digital (online) realm there still exists considerable limitations and restrictions. Various consumer protection directives, data protection regulations and copyright regulations in member states of the EU limit the action of European online providers compared to those of the USA.

The vision of the "Digital Single Market" strategy is based on three tiers:

  • First tier: Improving access for consumers of digital products and services 

Regulations for simplifying transnational electronic trading belong to this tier. These include, for example, affordable and quick international delivery services, with which consumers as well as companies can order more easily from outside Europe. The standardization of regulations for collective excercise of copy- and related protection rights, as well as giving out so-called "multiple territory licenses", are also regulated in this tier. This also includes simplified VAT regulations, consumer protection guidelines and the prevention of unjustified geo-blocking. 

  • Second tier: Optimization of  parameters for digital networks and services 

The second tier includes a planned reform of the EU telecommunication regulations (e.g. coordination of the frequency use as well as collective EU-wide criteria for frequency allocation, implementation of incentives for greater expansion of broadband networks etc.) and analyzing items concerning the use of collected data, transparency of search results, prices and preventing distribution of illegal content.

  • Third tier: Best possible exploitation of potential in the EU's digital economy

The third tier includes the proposed European initiative for the free flow of data in order to enable free data transfer within in the EU. Means by which citizens acquire the skills necessary to make use of digital opportunities also belong to this tier. Furthermore, the Commission will propose a European Cloud Initiative which will include certifying cloud services, as well as switiching cloud service providers, and a research cloud.

In their Roadmap the EU Commission shows what has already been achieved in the previous year,and what should be done in 2016. 

Read also:
Copyright and Participation in the Digital Era

See also: Data Protection, Data Security, Safe Harbour

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