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March 15, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 6:48am

CeBIT 2016: EC vows to unite ‘siloed’ Europe in Digital Single Market push

News: Digital Single Market chief says nations need to allow cross-border connectivity.

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Up until now, the European Commission’s (EC) plans for a Digital Single Market have been constrained to the 28 member states, however, the project could now be extended to non-EU members following Günther Hermann Oettinger’s assertions that "connectivity has no borders".

Speaking at CeBIT 2016 in Hannover, Germany, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, praised member states’ adoption of technology into industries such as the automotive and food sectors, but highlighted that the current "28 fragmented silos’ ares holding back digital transformation across the continent.

"It is a priority for the EC to strike into the digital market. 28 different digital strategies do not make sense at all," Mr Oettinger said.

With this in mind, the Commissioner said that his cabinet will submit a proposal for the unification of a range of policies "so Europe no longer has disadvantages due to its 28 member states".

He said that nations need to allow cross-border connectivity, and that ‘this should include Ukraine, the Balkans, Norway, Moscow, etc".

"For example, open autonomous driving from Lisbon to Moscow; open the whole continent to this. Invite Moscow and others to join the digital single market.

"Connectivity is the basis for added value and economic success of the gigabyte Europe [an era of high connectivity speeds]. We need the gigabit infrastructure for the internet demands of the next decade."

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Mr Oettinger said that with all the data set to be generated from sectors such as connected cars, eGovernment, the B2B sector, M2M, and eHealth, there will be a requirement for data transport and speed, and every millisecond will be important for data speeds.

Hoping to see 5G launched across the continent, he said that a €110m development fund is already available through the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP).

"We want to ensure that connectivity and a high performance flow of data [is built] in Europe," Mr Oettinger said.

Günther Hermann Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

Europe called to decide on legislation

As the EC makes its push towards a Digital Single Market, Mr Oettinger also invited all 28 EU member states to look at the organisation’s consultations around digital in Europe carried out last year.

He said: "We invite all players involved to look at this and discuss if we need to do something. Do we need online legislation, for example?

"We want to ensure that unjustified blocking of the market is [erased], we need to avoid geoblocking.

"Not everything has to be regulated in the European way. Together with our industry we want to complete the agenda to see how it should look like. Where is the added value? We need a clear European agenda while digitising the European economy."

Speaking of the "age of mobility" and specifically around smart cars, Mr Oettinger said that insurers also have a role to play in European discussions.

"Driverless cars are not a dream anymore, they are a reality, and will take to the roads by 2020.

"We invite the insurance businesses, [to discuss] if there are ethical issues, [and if] they have to be addressed. Who owns the data? Is there need for regulation? Is there a need for national or EU regulation when it comes to data privacy? Or do we leave it to the market?

"We need an European digital compilation of rules, civil code, where liability issues, ownerships, and others, are covered. We are only on the outskirts of a legal debate around data in the age of mobility."

He also launched the idea of creating an European cybersecurity label for products and services issued by testing centres.

"The digital policy should be made more European, in the digital sector there is an added value to this."

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