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A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe

What should DSM (official) mean for citizens and business?

Making the Single Market fit for a digital age requires rapid actions to remove the major differences between the online and offline worlds i.e. breaking down barriers to cross-border online activity. This is the first pillar of actions for the Strategy. Secondly, since all digital services, applications and content depend on the availability throughout Europe of high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures, we need action to create the right regulatory conditions for investment, stimulate competition and ensure a level playing field between market players. Thirdly, breaking down barriers to the Digital Single Market is not enough if businesses in Europe are not in a position to be able to adopt digital technologies. The Strategy supports increased digitalisation of the EU economy, including investment in ICT infrastructures. The Digital Single Market Strategy will therefore be built on the three pillars:

– Better access for consumers and businesses to on-line goods and services across Europe;

– Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish;

– Maximising the growth potential of our European Digital Economy.

Better access for consumers and businesses to on-line goods and services across Europe

The Commission has identified a number of areas where immediate action is required. First, differences in contract law between Member States are creating a barrier to trade within the Single Market. Second, there is a lack of affordable and high quality cross-border parcel delivery services within Europe. Third, consumers should not be unfairly discriminated against when accessing content or buying goods and services online due to their nationality, residence or geographical location, within the borders of the EU. Fourth, businesses should not have to face (не должны сталкиваться с) burdensome regulatory obstacles such as heavy value-added-tax procedures when selling across borders.

Key actions:

– Propose simple and effective cross-border rules for consumers and businesses and strengthen enforcement of consumer protection cooperation rules

– Prepare an initiative in the area of parcel delivery with a focus on improving price transparency and enhanced regulatory oversight

– Tackle unjustified geo-blocking through a combination of actions

– Propose reform of the copyright regime

– Propose to reduce the administrative burden arising from different VAT regimes

In a single market, companies should be able to manage their sales under a common set of rules. When it comes to remedies for defective digital content purchased online, such as eBooks, no specific EU rules exist at all, and only few national ones. The commission will propose legislative initiatives on simple and effective cross-border rules for consumers and businesses. This will include: harmonised EU rules for online purchases of digital content (e.g. for defective content purchased online, like eBooks); the application of the trader’s national law with a limited but harmonised set of key mandatory EU contractual rights applicable to domestic and cross-border online sales of tangible goods (such as the main rights and obligations of the parties to the sales contract; remedies for non-performance or minimum period for the right to a legal guarantee). The Commission will also review the Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation and develop more efficient cooperation mechanisms. It will also clarify and develop enforcement authorities’ investigation and enforcement powers; and improve market surveillance and alert mechanisms to detect infringements faster, especially in the digital environment.