Your consultant

In topic Digital Economy:

Dr. Matthias Kullas

Head of Division

+49 761 38693-236

kullas(at)cep.eu

Dr. Götz Reichert, LL.M.

Head of Division

+49 761 38693-235

reichert(at)cep.eu

Dr. Bert Van Roosebeke

Head of Division

+49 761 38693-230

vanroosebeke(at)cep.eu

Digital Economy

Digitalisation continues its advance across all sectors of the economy bringing with it huge opportunities for consumers and businesses alike. The ability to make use of these opportunities calls for high-grade IT infrastructure, effective competition and the confidence of consumers and businesses. It is the task of the European Union to ensure the existence of a legal framework which satisfies these three requirements EU-wide.

Cross-border portability of online content (Regulation)

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Subscriptions to films and other online content will also be available for use during temporary stays in another Member State. This is provided for under a EU Commission proposal for a Regulation on the cross-border portability of online content. Until now, this has been prevented inter alia by national copyrights and licences.

Geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination (Regulation)

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The EU Commission is planning to ban geo-blocking and other discrimination based on nationality, place of residence or establishment in order to improve cross-border online trade in goods and services. In cep's view, the bans will only rarely result in customers buying more across borders.

Digital Single Market: Digitising Industry (Communication)

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The European Commission wants to speed up the digitisation of European industry and calls, inter alia, for an EU-wide network of "Digital Innovation Hubs". These will help small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, to develop digital innovations more easily. In cep's view, public funds should not be channelled into such "Hubs".

Contract law for the supply of digital content (Directive)

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In addition to online sales of goods, the EU Commission also wants to boost the market for digital content and ensure that it can also be offered and acquired across borders. With the proposed Directive, it wants to fully harmonise the guarantee rights and other consumer rights in contracts relating to the supply of digital content and thereby remove legal uncertainty and promote sales of digital content.

Audiovisual media and video-sharing platforms (Directive)

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In view of the changing media landscape, the Commission wants to revise the rules on the provision of audiovisual media services and video-sharing platforms. In this regard, it proposes the harmonisation of competition rules applicable to television programmes and video-on-demand services. In cep's view, this is appropriate because both media services are in competition with one another.

ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market (Communication)

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The Commission wants to press ahead with the standardisation of information and communications technology (ICT). It is focussing, in this regard, on the "priorities" of cloud computing, the internet of things, 5G communications, cybersecurity and data technologies. In cep's view, setting priorities is appropriate.

Digital Single Market: European Cloud Initiative (Communication)

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The Commission wants to create a European Open Science Cloud, strengthen data infrastructure and invest in quantum technologies. A European Cloud, in cep's view, contributes to the efficiency and quality of research. Success, however, depends on information actually being put in the Cloud.

Competition Challenges in the Consumer Internet Industry

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In the presence of EU-Commission Guenther Oettinger, cep has presented in Brussels its latest study on competition challenges in the consumer internet industry.

Digital Single Market Strategy – Pillar 3 (Communication)

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EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has declared that the completion of a Digital Single Market is one of the priorities of his period of office. With the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Commission wants to make the EU the leader of the digital economy. A central pillar of this strategy is the building of a "data economy" (Big Data, cloud services, Internet of Things).

Digital Single Market Strategy – Pillar 2 (Communication)

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In its Strategy for a Digital Single Market, the Commission lays down numerous measures to strengthen the European digital economy. This cepPolicyBrief deals with the second pillar of the Strategy (Digital networks and services). It deals, inter alia, with the reform of telecommunications regulations, the examination of the rules on audiovisual media services, online platforms, and with the rules on illegal content on the Internet.

Digital Single Market Strategy – Pillar 1 (Communication)

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The European Commission will harmonise the contractual rights of both parties in online purchasing EU wide. In addition, it will submit legislative proposals to prevent "unjustified geo-blocking". Geo-blocking is a technical measure used by online traders to restrict access to cross-border online purchasing by users in a specific geographical location.

Exceptions to copyright

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The European Commission has announced a reform of the copyright rules in the EU before the end of this year. It intends to reduce the differences between national copyright rules by way of harmonised exceptions. The cep assesses the benefits and problems of mandatory exceptions to copyright.

Net Neutrality: How European rules can foster innovation

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The cep investigates how EU net neutrality rules are best shaped to guarantee innovation. We extend the focus to the upcoming US regulation and conclude with six recommendations to EU policy makers.

Support for Crowdfunding (Communication)

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The EU Commission wants to promote financing by way of crowdfunding.

Broadband Investment: Non-discrimination, Price Control and Cost Accounting (Recommendation)

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The EU Commission wants to promote investment in NGA networks and maintain effective competition on the broadband market. It wants to do this by stricter non-discrimination obligations, greater clarity as to when obligations on price control for NGA networks should be removed and by imposing a standard costing methodology.

Mobile Health (mHealth) (Green Paper)

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The Commission wants to hold an open debate on the possibilities of mobile health and, in particular, to establish whether and what problems exist in relation to extending the sector. It calls on the public to answer a list of 23 questions.

Payment services: PSD II (Directive)

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With the proposal for a Directive on a 2nd Payment Services Directive, the Commission wants to promote the European payments market and encourage transparency, security and innovation in relation to payments.

Standard VAT Return for Businesses (Directive)

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In principle, every tax-liable business must submit a VAT return. The Commission wants to introduce an EU-wide mandatory standard VAT return. This consists of a standard form, harmonised tax periods and deadlines for the submission of VAT returns as well as harmonised rules on making corrections to the VAT return.

"eCall" Traffic Emergency Call System (Regulation)

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In order to speed up the arrival of emergency services, in the event of an accident, by 40-50%, the European Commission wants to introduce an EU-wide, standard emergency system for road traffic ("eCall"). An eCall device inside the vehicle will allow an emergency call to be sent, either automatically in the case of a "severe accident" or manually by the occupants of the vehicle, via the mobile telephone network to an emergency response centre. The aim is to reduce the number of fatalities and severe injuries caused by road accidents.

E-invoicing and end-to-end e-procurement for public contracts (Directive)

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The Commission intends all phases of the public procurement process to take place electronically from end to end and software systems for this to be compatible EU-wide. A binding European standard is to be developed for electronic invoicing, in particular.

Digital Single Market (Part 1) (Regulation)

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The EU Commission proposes an extensive overhaul of the digital single market rules. Part 1 of the cepPolicyBrief concerns net neutrality and the full harmonisation of the rights of end-users. Part 2 deals with the notification requirement for telecomms providers, radio frequencies and virtual broadband access. The change to the Roaming Regulation and cross-border fixed-network connections within the EU will be considered in Part 3.

Reducing the Cost of Broadband Deployment (Regulation)

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In order to promote the deployment of broadband, the Commission wants to reduce construction costs.

Network and Information Security (Directive)

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The Directive aims to ensure a minimum level of network and information security. The Commission wants to impose technical requirements and reporting obligations on certain market operators and public authorities. The Member States are to adopt strategies for network and information security. 

Data Protection (Regulation)

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The Commission wishes to reform the EU data protection law fundamentally with the General Data Protection Regulation. It is mainly aimed at an EU-wide full harmonisation of the data protection standard while taking account of the latest technical challenges of the internet age. It is to replace the existing Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC).

Intelligent Transport Systems (Directive)

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The Commission wishes to accelerate the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and to establish a legal framework. In its Action Plan the Commission calls for action and sets a timeframe for the deployment and improvement of single ITS.

Card, Internet and Mobile Payments (Green Paper)

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The Commission aims to implement a fully integrated payment market in the EU. In its Green Paper, the Commission presents action plans for the market integration.

Electronic Money (Directive)

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The EU Commission wishes to promote the circulation of electronic money by simplifying the legal requirements for the institutions concerned. The issuance of money is to be supervised according to its actual economic risk potential. Hence, the Directive treats institutions licensed to issue e-money different from credit institutions. Moreover, e-money institutions will be entitled to engage in further business activities. 

Future Networks and the Internet (Communication)

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The rapid development of the internet creates new services and applications. Not only the EU Commission, but also many national politicians call for "broadband access for all" and a quick expansion of high-speed networks in urban areas. The growing use of smart radio tags (RFID technology) storing and transmitting data, enables new applications on the one hand, but, at the same time, raises critical issues as to data protetion on the other hand.

Smart Grids (Communication)

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By means of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) “smart grids“ are to coordinate the behaviour of all grid users in order to ensure an economically efficient power system. The Commission wishes to draw up “appropriate measures” to expedite the set-up of such grids by the end of 2011.

Smart Tachographs (Regulation)

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Driving times and rest periods in road transport are subject to rules in order to improve road transport safety, improve drivers‘ working conditions and ensure fair competition between road transport companies.  By applying technically modernised “smart” tachgraphs, the Commission wishes to better enforce the rules on driving time and rest periods and reduce the administrative burdens for road transport companies and control authorities.

Mobile Termination Rates (Recommendation)

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The Regulation of mobile termination rates has become the arena of a power struggle between the EU-Commission and some Member States. The Commission insists that national regulators should apply the “pure-LRIC”-costing model.

Measures for Financially Unstable Euro Countries (Regulation)

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On the one hand, the Commission wishes conduct enhanced surveillance of euro countries, which might need to request financial assistance in future. On the other hand, the Commission wishes to see the tasks assigned by the bail-out package enshrined in secondary EU legislation.

MiFIR (Regulation)

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The Commission wishes to improve the transparency of financial market transactions, move derivatives trading to organised trading venues and strengthen supervision and competition. Moreover, it intends to strengthen investor protection. 

Electronic Identification and Trust Services (Regulation)

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The Commission wishes to enhance trust in electronic transactions in the internal market. To this end, it proposes a Regulation designed to extend the provisions of the existing Electronic Signature Directive (1999/93/EC) and to complement electronic identification and additional trust services.

Action Plan E-Commerce (Communication)

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The Commission wishes to promote the digital single market by setting new framework conditions and removing obstacles. To this end, it presents an action plan.

Access Prices and NGA Networks (Consultation)

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The Commission is initiating a consultation with the aim to (at first) adopt a non-binding recommendation. The recommendation is to serve as guidance to national regulatory authorities for fixing access prices during the transition phase between copper networks and fibre glass networks.  This approach is to create incentives for investments in ultra-fast NGA networks.

EU-wide Roaming (Regulation)

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The Commission proposes new price limits for calls, SMS and data communications services within a foreign EU Member State. These will be gradually reduced until 2014. Service providers are to receive access to networks of mobile network operators in other EU states to offer mobile communications services. Mobile users of roaming services may switch from their roaming provider to an alternative provider “at any moment”.

Data Retention (Report)

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The Data Retention Directive stipulates that providers of telecommunications, mobile and internet services are obliged to retain traffic and location data of users. The purpose of this is the investigation, detection and prosecution of “serious crime”. In its Report, the Commission evaluates the Member States’ application of the Data Retention Directive, its benefit and impact. 

Project Bonds (Consultation)

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In its consultation paper the Commission presents a model for infrastructure financing („Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative“): Private or public-private project companies issue bonds on capital markets to finance infrastructure (“project bonds”). Limited payment guarantees or credits provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) are to encourage private investors to buy project bonds.

Digital Agenda (Communication)

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The “Digital Agenda” designates “key actions” which will facilitate “smarter work” and the establishment of the Digital Single Market. It aims at a sustainable economic and social use of the Digital Single Market, rooted in fast internet connections for EU-wide services.

The Commission names as “key performance targets” for 2015, amongst other things, that 50% of the population buy online, the removal of tariff differences between telephone calls at home and abroad (“roaming”) and an average price per minute of 13 cents (including roaming).

State Aid for the Deployment of Broadband Networks (Guidelines)

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The Commission and many Member States have announced to support the deployment of boradband networks as part of their economic recovery packages. This includes not only traditional broadband networks but also new "NGA Networks". However, subsidies (State aid) are subject to certain conditions which the Commission clarifies in its latest Guidelines.

Re-Use of Public Sector Information (PSI) (Communication)

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The public sector possesses extensive information such as satellite images, judicial decisions or statistics ("Public Sector Information" - PSI), all of which can serve as raw material for products and services offered by private providers such as navigation systems, weather forecasts or financial services. The Directive 2003/98/EC (“PSI Directive“) is to remove barriers to the private use (“re-use”) of PSI in the internal market. The aim of the Communication is to review the impact thus far of the PSI Directive and to show new ways to tap the full economic potential in re-using PSI.

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