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Business benefits

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

told delegates.

“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.”

Telecoms

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,”

Ansip continued.

“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

83

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

Ansip described the

lack of cross-border

commerce as an

“unexploited

opportunity”