The Digital Single Market and What it Means

A scheme in the pipeline from the EU Commission could mean major changes that would harmonise copyright rules and make digital services available on the same basis to everyone across Europe.

The Digital Single Market and What it Means

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The Digital Single Market (DSM) is being proposed by the European Union and contains a number of initiatives covering things like online security, access to services and even changes to tax and improved delivery systems to make online shopping services run more smoothly across the EU.

What’s It All About?

The EU already offers a free market for physical trade amongst its members. What these DSM proposals would do is to create a similar market for digital services and online selling so that these services can be used anywhere in the EU with very little restriction from national boundaries.

The idea is based around a broad three-pronged strategy, the first being to create improved access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services right across Europe. The second to create the right conditions for a level playing field across digital networks. Thirdly to give maximum growth potential to Europe’s digital economy and help it compete on the world stage.

Within this the EU Commission has come up with a 16-point plan which will involve a review of a number of existing laws. This will include a review of media frameworks and telecoms rules and an investigation into online platforms. Any changes proposed for the latter will of course mean more work for businesses who offer software testing as they will have a major effect on almost all European businesses or web designers like Cardiff based Net Centics.

Breaking Down Boundaries

The DSM would aim down to remove barriers that currently, for example, prevent people from outside the UK accessing digital services like iPlayer. This will no doubt lead to increased demand for software testing services as applications will need to be changed to cope.

Whilst much of what’s proposed involves digital services, DSM aims to break down physical barriers too. The EU sees delivery costs as one of the main barriers to buying online, so the proposals also look at reviewing the role parcel delivery services across Europe.

It aims to streamline tax too, proposing a single VAT system to make it easier for businesses to sell across national boundaries and a single VAT threshold for new businesses looking to sell online.

It could save money too. The EU Commission estimates it could reduce costs by as much as €5 billion a year by 2017 if fully implemented. They estimate that the scheme could also contribute €415 billion a year to the EU economy and create as many as 3.8 million jobs.

Making government and other services easier to access is on the cards as well. The DSM proposals want to have standards across Europe for things like healthcare provision, energy and smart metering and transport, ensuring that these services work together and can be delivered smoothly across the EU.

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