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EU countries lobby for free data flows in support of data-driven technologies & Digital Single Market

News: The members are against implementation of “one-size-fits-all” rule for online platforms.

By CBR Staff Writer

Half of the member states in the European Union want to get rid of the barriers that obstruct the free flow of data from indside and outside the EU.

The member states want the continent to avail the benefits of new data-driven technologies.

In a letter to the European Commission, ministers from the member states have asked Brussels to ensure that regulation is not an obstacle in the development of data-driven technologies, Reuters reported.

"It should be ensured that data can move freely across borders, both within and outside the EU, by removing all unjustified barriers to the free flow of data and that regulation does not constitute a barrier to development and adoption of innovative data-driven technologies," the letter reads.

The states have urged the EU presidency not to implement a "one-size-fits-all rules" for online platforms such as Amazon and Facebook.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, the UK and Ireland have signed the letter.

"As both consumers and businesses can benefit significantly from cross-border e-commerce within Europe, we need to step up efforts to make it easier to trade online across the internal market and not impose new burdens on businesses," the ministers wrote in a letter.

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"Europe can benefit significantly from new data-driven technologies if the right future-proof regulatory framework is established."

Last year, the Commission announced its Digital Single Market strategy, a broad plan to get rid of barriers in the digital space to allow Europe to gain a better opportunity to compete with other tech giants, particularly with those in the US.

On 25 May, the Commission is set to unveil the outcomes of its inquiry into online platforms and announce measures for the requisite areas.

Though the European Commission’s vice-president Andrus Ansip has discarded the possibility of a single regulation for all online firms, it may address issues in areas such as copyright and telecoms.

It could conduct further inquiry into the terms of use of services such as Google’s Android and Apple’s IoS mobile operating system, the publication said.

Ansip has come out against restrictions to cross-border data flows.

Ansip said in the European Parliament in April: "It’s extremely important to allow free data flows across the EU and we know that in some member states there are ideas to localise data inside of those beautiful countries. They are very popular but it’s a dead end."

Later this year, the EU is anticipated to come with a proposal that permits free flow of data across the bloc as a counter measure to data localisation steps taken by other countries such as Germany and France.

The ministers’ letter has also urged for simplification of rule for telecom companies in order to boost investments in high-speed broadband. The call comes in the wake of the union remaining behind the US, Japan and South Korea in broadband network.

The European ministers wrote:"The Digital Single Market should be characterised by openness towards innovation and new business models, by stronger competition and minimal barriers, and a favourable environment for new entrants..

"A market-based approach where businesses do not face unjustified burdens, can operate freely across borders like they do in their home countries, and all legislation is digital by default is equally essential."

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