The emergence of a decentralised digital economy suggests that this could lead to a transformation in setting up businesses, jobs, production, consumption, governance. In view of this and in answer to the Commission's Communication on a new agenda for the collaborative economy, the EESC proposes a series of recommendations to face this new paradigm.
The EESC supports the Commission's initiatives to achieve "roam-like-at-home" from 15 June 2017 as well as its efforts to eliminate the failures of the wholesale roaming market.
However, pre-emptive measures will be necessary to prevent operators from compensating for the drop in revenue resulting from the abolition of roaming charges by increasing domestic charges or by means of other improper practices. The EESC also expresses serious reservations about the new possibility given to operators to negotiate "innovative wholesale pricing schemes" outside the regulated prices (caps) that would not be directly linked to the actual volumes consumed. Commercial negotiations based on flat payments are likely to lead to cartels and abuses of dominant positions.
Finally, the EESC suggests that the provisions dealing with disputes should be fleshed out and national authorities should be asked to encourage the parties involved, where appropriate, to first resort to resolving disputes via an alternative dispute resolution procedure.
The proposal from the Commission is a welcomed step further in the creation of a Digital Single Market, but it's not a game-changer. More ambitious and well-defined proposals for a Digital Single Market in favour of consumers and companies, should be put forward.
Justified geo-blocking resulting from different Member States' industrial policies and diverging legislation is also damaging the development of SMEs and scale-ups operating in Europe. The EU should focus equally on the remaining obstacles in the Single Market that discourage or hamper traders from selling on-line and/or off-line across borders.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies offer great potential for creating new and innovative solutions to improve peoples lives, grow the economy, and address challenges in health and wellbeing, climate change, safety and security.
Like any disruptive technology, however, AI carries risks and presents complex societal challenges in several areas such as labour, safety, privacy, ethics, skills and so on.
A broad approach towards AI, covering all its effects (good and bad) on society as a whole, is crucial. Especially in a time where developments are accellerating.
Banking and insurance are evolving. Insurance companies and banks are at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. The very nature of their activities lends itself to the intensive use of the new technologies. In a highly competitive framework marked by a keener pursuit of competitiveness, insurance companies and banks have become part of an ongoing drive for innovation.
Defining the sharing economy makes it possible to distinguish between genuine practices requiring special arrangements and those that are wrongly classified merely to get around applicable regulations. New business models need to comply with the applicable national and EU legislation, so the Commission must urgently define a clear and transparent legal framework and publish without further delay the long overdue 'European agenda for the collaborative economy'. This agenda should provide a clear definition of the complementary role that self- and co-regulation must play in the sharing economy.