Damiani&Damiani International Law Firm is always updated on Digital Single Market. Our Lawyers know how the market is changing: due to information society and digital market. Our team is highly specialised, and aware of the importance of EU laws in a moment of transition from analogue to digital.
Although in Italy the process of digitalisation has not been finalised yet, the EU Commission has already launched the so-called “Digital Single Market Strategy”, a communication which lays out the objectives of the EU to pave the way towards, and to foster, a Common “Digital Single Market”. In this article Damiani & Damiani International Law Firm & Services will take your hand and help you understand the three main pillars and sixteen key-operations that characterise the Strategy.
First pillar. It aims to finally remove all differences, that still exist, between off-line and online market. This operation will grant free movements of goods and services entirely: in a Digital Single Market, in fact, there are no physical boundaries. Harmonisation of national laws on the matter results to be due, especially simplification of contract terms of both B2B and B2C cross-border transactions.
Regarding cross-border consumer transactions, the EU Commission is working on a Cooperation Regulation, that should bring consumer protection to a higher level. In fact, only directives, not regulations, regulate consumer rights at the moment. After maximum harmonisation, regulation is the final step.
Another important matter on which the Commission is working, is logistics and shipping services. EU intends to reduce costs and to become more demanding on transparency.
Regarding communication and entertainment services, as well as broadcasting, the EU Commission intends to abolish “geo-blocking”, which is a common practice among companies and the main cause of fragmentation of the sector. Also e-commerce directive will be reviewed, to guarantee a higher competition and fairer interests balance in the digital market.
Copyright is also central in the reviewing process. In fact, InfoSoc directive dates back to 2001 and now seems obsolete, due to the evolution of technology, which rises new and still unregulated challenges for authors and artists. It will be interesting to see how the EU Commission will handle the “follow the money” matter, especially regarding cross-border copyright infringements within the supply chain. Finally, also VAT regulation will be modified, as it generates confusion and grey areas, especially in e-commerce and online transactions.
Second pillar. This part of the strategy aims at improving digital wires and services, to guarantee equal conditions defined at a EU legislative level, through the means of harmonisation. Telecommunication reforms are due, especially regarding broad-band.
To this extent, also e-privacy and data protection need to be granted. The new data protection regulation is already a reality and may be deemed as an implementation of the EU Commission Strategy.
Third Pillar. This last, but not least, part of the strategy aims at maximizing digital economy growth, through the application of digitization measures for European industries and, therefore, the market itself, to allow them to be more competitive against foreign industries.
Of paramount importance in this phase of the strategy, reviewing and improving legislation on data protection and data transfer, with more persuasive and severe measures regarding data property and electronic storage. Finally, sectors like e-health, public means of transport and energies need to be improved, to allow companies to do network and be more competitive in the digital single market.
Last, but not least, EU will launch a 4-year Action Plan, aiming at realising an “E-Society”, to the benefit of companies and users. The final goal is to create a user-friendly system, especially at a bureaucratic level, to simplify and accelerate administrative relationships between Member States and their citizens in cross-border operations.