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DET INDRE MARKED - Related Opinions
The Commission's decision to create a Digital Single Market (to remove virtual borders, boost digital connectivity, and make it easier for consumers to access cross-border online content) is therefore a welcome move. But what does it mean for SMEs in practice? How will this affect their day-to-day running? And, given the lessons learnt from previous rapid changes, how do we make an "inclusive" success of the Digital Single Market?
- The EESC welcomes the Communication from the Commission confirming the importance of Internet connectivity for the Digital Single Market and the need for Europe to deploy now the networks for its digital future.
- The EESC notes that the Strategic Objectives for 2025 are ambitious but realistic, although they are largely dependent on national funding (private and public). There is a particular need for public investments to cover all remotes areas and guarantee minimum digital access for the vulnerable members of our society.
- The EESC agrees with the proposal to introduce a voucher system for small communities and SMEs and supports the free "WIFI4EU" initiative for all Europeans in public places, public administrations, libraries and hospitals as well as outdoor spaces even. It recommends following eIDAS digital identity, which offers guarantees for data protection and public security against.
The Single Market is coming under growing pressure, partly due to short-sighted national interests, with a significant part of the population increasingly calling it into question. Unnecessary obstacles such as insufficient recognition of qualifications and diplomas, technical constraints at local level, regulatory obstacles due to differences in national legislation and inadequate coordination of e-government solutions at EU level, must be removed to ensure growth, jobs, long-term prosperity.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the package of measures to adapt copyright to the requirements of the digital economy, by aiming to eliminate fragmentation while, at the same time, enhancing protection for creators. The EESC supports the exclusive related right of publishers to authorise or prohibit the digital use of their press publications for a period of twenty years and urges to harmonise the "freedom of panorama" exception by means of European rules. The EESC also refers to the ECJ judgment stating that, under certain conditions, the lending of a digital copy of a book has similar characteristics to the lending of printed works.
Impact assessments of any legislative proposals must be integrated and accorded due importance to the economic, social and environmental dimensions, including for SMEs. The Committee has called for the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission to agree on a common methodology on impact assessments and evaluations, which could also serve as a prompt for the Committee. It is extremely concerned by the findings on the shortcomings of social and environmental impact assessments and the follow-up to consultations. It calls on the Commission to be more transparent and to give fully documented reasons why a particular measure or proposal is or is not to be submitted for impact assessment and/or an ex-post analysis.
The EESC considers that a new vision is imperative in order to establish a European Standardisation System (ESS) able to adapt to constantly changing international circumstances and deliver increasing benefits to businesses, consumers, workers and the environment alike.
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.