On Tuesday 19 January 2016, MEPs adopted a series of recommendations to boost the 16 Digital market initiatives launched by the Commission in May 2015. European Parliamentarians have pushed for a rapid adoption of the project.
The motion was approved by 551 to 88 with 39 abstentions on 678 presents. The majority in favor of the resolution included the Christian democrats, the Socialists, the Greens, the Liberals and the Conservatives. The radical left group abstained. The Eurosceptics and the Nationalists opposed the text. 90% of MEPs voted along political groups’ lines.
Click here to see how each EU parliamentarian voted.
The resolution affirms the creation of a Digital Single Market (DSM) as one of a key priorities for the European Union. The text considers that a DSM based on a common set of rules could have strong positive effects on EU competitiveness, growth, jobs and relaunch the Single Market. It could also participate to make Society more inclusive, offering new opportunities to citizens and businesses by exchanging and sharing innovation. Fragmentations and barriers that are holding EU back have to disappear in the Digital economy, said the resolution.
The text underlines the necessity to ensure a better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and service across Europe. It urges to end unjustified geo-blocking practice, to ensure high-quality cross-border parcel delivery and to establish cross-border e-commerce rules that consumers and businesses can trust, particularly regarding the “sharing economy” (for example Uber, eBay or Airbnb). The resolution also considers the need to modernize current European copyright framework and harmonize taxation to adapt them to the digital age.
MEPs have also affirmed the necessity to reinforce trust and security in digital networks, industries, services and infrastructures and to protect personal data, creating the right conditions and a level field for advanced digital networks and innovative services. In particular, an innovative-friendly policy towards online platforms was urged.
Finally, the text adopted underlines the need to maximize the growth potential of the digital economy by building a data economy and boosting competitiveness through interoperability and standardization especially for SMEs. Europe should seize opportunities opened up by new technologies and support an inclusive DSM which can benefit to all citizens and businesses, said the motion.
Position of the Political Groups
European People’s Party (EPP), the political family of President Juncker and Chancellor Merkel, supported the resolution because they believed digitalization of industry is crucial for boosting job creation and growth in Europe. Thus, the EPP MEP, Henna Virkkunen, co-shadow rapporteur, said that completing DSM would bring significant impetus to European technology businesses and start-ups and could contribute an additional €415 billion to the EU-wide GDP.
The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) of EP President Schulz and French President Hollande claimed that the transition to a digital union is a priority for the group therefore they strongly supported the report.
The Liberal group ALDE of Mr Verhofstad strongly supported the report because they have estimated that completing DSM could create €340bn in additional growth across the EU. ALDE called the EU and Member States to embrace digital innovation by favoring digital transformation of traditional industries and removing barriers for innovative companies.
GUE/NGL: The radical left group close to the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras regarding to DSM, has called for a more ambitious proposal to benefit working people, consumers and SMEs. GUE/NGL Coordinator on the Industry Research and Energy Committee, Neoklis Sylikiotis said that “We must make sure that they do benefit all of our citizens; that we don’t just put money into the coffers of massive companies”.