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productivity and encouraging economic growth,

and balancing climate change objectives with

industrial competitiveness.

Addressing delegates, Ansip set out the

Commission’s flagship digital policy,

immediately outlining the difficulties in

realising this key vision: “The European

Commission has now agreed its strategy for

this ambitious project. It will not only resolve

some urgent short term problems but also

prepare Europe for a bright digital future. The

real work starts now. I do not expect much of

it – if any – to be easy.

“Getting rid of years of national legal differences

around the EU to create an open, accessible

digital environment with no restrictions or

discrimination – that will not happen overnight.

Our plan is designed in the same way as you

would build a house. It starts with solid

foundations as the basis for everything else.”

The Commission vice-president added that it is

important to ensure that the benefits of the

digital world are felt across the entire EU:

“Everyone must have reliable and high speed

access to online goods and services. That has

to apply across the whole of Europe. Nobody

should be excluded. Without proper online

access, not much else will follow.”

Removing barriers

Ansip then proceeded to set out the core

objectives of the Commission’s Digital Single

Market Strategy, first citing the removal of

national obstacles and streamlining the

difficulties faced between EU member states

when making online purchases. ‘Better online

access to digital goods and services’ is defined

as the first pillar of the Digital Single Market.

“First, there are several barriers to access that

must be removed. Take online trading between

buyers and sellers in different EU countries. At

the moment, both sides are losing out from the

T

he creation of a digital single market is one of the flagship

policies of the European Commission led by Jean-Claude

Juncker. By breaking down current barriers, the Commission

hopes presently untapped online opportunities can be realised, paving

the way for fresh benefits for businesses, consumers and governments.

By creating a digital single market, economic benefits worth €415bn a

year, along with the creation of 3.8 million jobs, could be realised.

Responsible for realising this vision is Andrus Ansip, the European

Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market. Amongst the

priorities of the former Estonian prime minister is to ‘create a connected

digital single market and make Europe a world leader in ICT’. Also on

his agenda is ‘helping build the framework conditions for protecting

citizens online’, ‘simplifying consumer rules for online shopping’ and

‘mobilising additional public and private investment for infrastructure

such as broadband networks’.

In the new ways of working of the European Commission, Ansip also

leads the ‘Connected Digital Single Market’ project team, which brings

together the European commissioners for digital economy and society,

Internal Market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, and employment,

social affairs, skills and labour mobility, amongst others.

Digital Single Market

The announcement of the creation of a digital single market was made

at this year’s European Business Summit, which took place in Brussels

in May. Attended by Portal, the two-day conference brought together over

2,300 participants to discuss the digital and circular economy, increasing

I S S U E S E V E N

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

www.horizon2020projects.com

82

D I G I TA L E C O N O M Y

Sparking the digital connection

Attending the European Business Summit in Brussels,

Portal

heard from

Andrus Ansip,

European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single

Market, about a flagship EU policy to upgrade the EU marketplace

Ansip announced that

“national legal

differences” had to

be overcome to

realise the Digital

Single Market