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September 6, 2016

European Commission warned to get Digital Single Market back on track or risk Europe’s digital economies

techUK, Syntec Numerique and Bitkom have called on the EC to deliver the economic promise of the Digital Single Market.

By Ellie Burns

The European Commission is being urged to refocus on the Digital Single Market, with leading tech bodies from the UK, France and Germany voicing concerns that current proposals are overly proscriptive and failing to embrace benefits of the digital revolution.

Germany’s Bitkom, France’s Syntec Numerique, and the UK’s techUK have called on the Commission to deliver the economic promise of the Digital Single Market, warning that proposals need to get back on track in order to ensure economic prosperity across Europe post-Brexit.

“Today, we reiterate our call to policymakers to deliver a Digital Single Market that embraces change, and makes it easier not harder for businesses to innovate.” Said Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, CEO of Bitkom.

“The future success of our three digital economies will depend on delivering a simpler not complex regulatory environment. At present, there are worrying signs that the Commission is heading in the wrong direction.”

The three tech bodies have identified a number of areas where the Commission is risking veering off track, including the duplication of new data rules in the review of the ePrivacy Directive and proposals to undermine the freedom to hyperlink through new forms of ancillary copyright. Syntec Numerique, Bitkom and techUK were bold in their assertions that the current direction proposals are taking risks that could harm, rather than support, the digital economy.

The three organisations also cautioned the Commission to understand the implications of introducing sweeping new legal concepts, such as data ownership, that could risk destabilising Europe’s potential in the digital economy. Advocating free flowing data across borders in order to fuel data-driven innovation, the tech bodies also recommended a future-proofed telecoms framework that delivers fair competition and suitable consumer protections.

The organisations reiterated their commitment in working with policymakers to prioritise trade, data flows, innovation and collaboration as they move forward with the Digital Single Market strategy – regardless of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

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“The tech communities across our three countries are deeply committed to achieving a positive and smooth transition as the UK changes the nature of its relationship with the European Union. Digital commerce between our three countries will be fundamental as the UK forges its new future after the referendum. Challenges and opportunities lie ahead on all sides, but together we can ensure our close economic ties continue to grow for the benefit of all our economies.” Said Julian David, CEO of techUK.

“Tech and digital innovations are the best economic news on the continent, driving job creation and spurring greater productivity. The European Commission and Council must not allow politics and short-term uncertainty to destabilise the positive future for Europe’s digital economies.”

 

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