On 10 May 2017, the European Commission published its mid-term review of the implementation of Europe’s Digital Single Market strategy. Launched in 2015, the ambitious strategy covered 16 actions under the three pillars: (1) improving access to digital goods and services for consumers and businesses across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; and (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy. Despite a lot of activity, the Commission was only able to highlight one actual delivered improvement in its review – the abolition of retail roaming charges – although it looks forward to the imminent implementation of cross-border content portability in early 2018 and the expected approval of a proposal to address unjustified geo-blocking.

However, between the initiatives already being progressed and three focus areas of (1) building the data economy; (2) cybersecurity; and (3) regulation of on-line platforms, we expect the strategy to result in significant legislative change in Europe over the medium term – not least as the Commission have identified 35 proposals relating the Digital Single Market to date:

Commission proposal and initiatives
Pillar I – Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe
 Legislative proposals for simple and effective crossborder contract rules for consumers and businesses

  • Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content
  • Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods
 Review the Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation

  • Proposal for a revision of the Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation
 Measures in the area of parcel delivery

  • Legislative proposal in the area of parcel delivery
 A wide ranging review to prepare legislative proposals to tackle unjustified Geo-blocking

  • Legislative action to prevent geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination against consumers based on nationality or residence
  • Guidance on the application of the Unfair Commercial practices Directive
Competition sector inquiry into e-commerce, relating to the online trade of consumer goods and the online
provision of digital content

  • Launched on 6 May 2015
  • Preliminary Report on the e-commerce sector inquiry (15 September 2016)
  • Public consultation on Preliminary Report until November 2016
Legislative proposals for a reform of the copyright regime

  • Proposal for a Regulation on ensuring the crossborder portability of online content services in the internal market
  • Communication ‘Towards a modern, more European copyright framework’ – Copyright I
  • Legislative proposals (Regulation and Directive) on permitted uses in copyright for print-disabled persons and implementing the Marrakesh Treaty
  • Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market
  • Communication “promoting a fair, efficient and competitive european copyright-based economy in the Digital Single Market – Copyright II
 Review of the Satellite and Cable Directive

  • Proposal on the exercise of copyright and related rights in certain online transmission of broadcasting organisations (Regulation)
 Legislative proposals to reduce the administrative burden on businesses arising from different VAT regimes

  • VAT for e-Commerce Package – proposals to amend Council Directives 2006/112/EC and 2009/132/EC (cross-border e-Commerce and e-publications)
 Pillar II – Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish
 Legislative proposals to reform the current telecoms rules

  • Proposal for a Decision on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union
  • Review of wholesale roaming markets
  • European Electronic Communications Code – Recast
  • BEREC Regulation
  • Legislative proposal to promote Internet connectivity in local communities (Wi-Fi4EU)
  • Communication on a 5G Action Plan
  • Communication on Connectivity for a competitive DSM
 Review the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

  • Review the Audiovisual Media Services Directive
 Comprehensive analysis of the role of platforms in the market including illegal content on the Internet

  • Commission assessment of the role of platforms in the market including tackling illegal content on the Internet
Review the e-Privacy Directive

  • Proposal for an e-Privacy Regulation
Establishment of a Cybersecurity contractual Public-Private Partnership

  • Commission Decision (C 2016/4400) on the signing of a contractual arrangement on a public-private partnership for cybersecurity between the EU and the stakeholder organisation
  • Communication on Strengthening Europe’s Cyber Resilience System and Fostering a Competitive and Innovative Cybersecurity Industry
Pillar III – Maximising the growth potential of the Digital Economy
Initiatives on data ownership, free flow of data (e.g. between cloud providers) and on a European Cloud

  • Communication on a European Cloud Initiative
  • Communication on Building a European Data Economy
Priority ICT Standards Plan and extending the European Interoperability Framework for public services

  • Communication ‘Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a DSM’
  • ICT Standardisation Priorities for the DSM
  • Revision of the European Interoperability Framework
New e-Government Action Plan including an initiative on the ‘Once-Only’ principle and an initiative on building up the interconnection of business registers

  • EU eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 Accelerating the digital transformation of government
  • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing single digital gateway to provide information, procedures, assistance and problem solving services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012