Ansip then moved to discuss the wide-ranging economic benefits that
the digital environment has to offer, detailing the third pillar of the Digital
Single Market: ‘Digital as a driver for growth’. He emphasised the need
for industry to take full advantage of the opportunities and encouraged
standardisation to help remove any further unnecessary barriers.
“European industry should be at the forefront of the ICT revolution to
serve the markets of the future. For that, it needs automation, sustainable
and clean manufacturing, connected supply chains, customised
production. Going digital is not only required to maintain our strong
industrial and business base, it will also create jobs and raise overall EU
competitiveness by increasing flexibility, efficiency and productivity. It will
help us manage the transition to a smart industrial and services economy.
“But so far, digitising EU business and industry has been rather slow.
Only 1.7% of EU enterprises make full use of advanced data
technologies, while 41% do not use them at all. This needs to speed
up; so does the process of technical standardisation to keep up with
changes in technologies and the demands of the business world,” Ansip
“Lack of interoperability – in digital infrastructure and networks, for
example – limits companies’ productivity and their potential to achieve
economies of scale. If new technologies are to work smoothly together
within an Internet of Things, they will have to use common technical
standards in areas such as 5G wireless, digitised manufacturing
processes, data-driven services, cloud computing, cybersecurity, e-health
and mobile payments.
“That is why we favour an integrated approach to standardisation across
sectors as a way to speed up the rollout of essential services. A plan for
this will be presented later this year.”
potential of cross-border e-commerce: a vast
market that is surprisingly underdeveloped in
Europe. Almost 50% of people in the EU buy
online. But between its countries? Far fewer,
not even one in eight.
“In retail, only 5% of companies sell across EU
borders; this is an unexploited opportunity. A
major reason for this is a lack of trust and
confidence in online services. To tackle the
problem, we will propose simple and effective
cross-border contract rules that everyone can
understand and believe in,” Ansip explained.
“This will help companies to retail across other
EU countries; it should encourage them to
increase the range they offer to customers
across Europe, not just in their home market.
That helps buyers as well as sellers.
“There will also be a comprehensive review
preparing for legal changes to tackle unjustified
geo-blocking and a competition inquiry into
online trading of goods and service provision.”
The Commission vice-president then focused
on reforming the market in which online
transactions take place and upon which
consumers and businesses now heavily rely.
‘An environment where digital networks and
services can prosper’ is defined as the second
pillar of the Digital Single Market.
“Digital networks and services are the
backbone for all this to work, but they must
have the right environment and conditions to
do so. This is why we need to reform the EU’s
telecoms rules to make them fit for purpose in
the digital age.
“Later this year, the Commission will open an
in-depth analysis of the role of platforms.
These are, after all, the data and business
crossroads of the internet, but this is not only
about the short term. We have to prepare for
the future, for Europe to get the most from the
digital economy and areas of new growth,”
“Turning Europe’s industry digital is a
necessary first step towards this. It will play a
major part in getting the EU to meet its target
of increasing industry’s economic value from
15% to 20% of GDP.”www.horizon2020projects.com
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S E V E N
D I G I TA L E C O N O M Y
Ansip described the
lack of cross-border
commerce as an