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“Differences in national tax rules are among the

most frequently quoted obstacles to the

development of cross-border business. We will

take action to reduce the administrative burden

which comes from all these different VAT

regimes and again propose a threshold that will

help start-up e-commerce businesses.

“Businesses should also be able to set up more

quickly and expand across the EU. We want to

help them do this by extending the ‘once only’

principle for businesses to operate across EU

borders. Today, it is only in 48% of cases that

public administrations reuse information that

they already have about people or companies

without asking for it again.

“For me, coming from Estonia, this is simply

inefficient. Full use of the ‘once only’ principle

across the EU could save a net €5bn a year by

2017 for people and businesses.”

Big Data

In his address to delegates, it was not only the

creation of the Digital Single Market that Ansip

discussed – the growth of data has exploded,

leading to new requirements to safeguard

personal information: “Every minute of every

day, the internet, personal electronic devices,

satellites, sensors, smart objects and industrial

machines generate over 1.7 million billion bytes

of data – equal to 360,000 DVDs. Efficient use

Small business, big potential

Vice-President Ansip then turned his attention to the far-reaching benefits

that SMEs would be able to harness from the digital world. However, he

warned much deeper obstacles, notably finance, limit a full exploitation

of potential opportunities: “Our smaller tech companies – especially start-

ups – could urgently do with some help: fewer obstacles and more

freedom to innovate and scale up in Europe; these small companies are

our digital future.

“It will be small businesses and web start-ups that will create the ideas

and jobs that Europe needs for its economic growth. Apart from

innovating better and faster, they could be given an easier beginning and

helped more to bridge the gap from lab to market. I strongly believe in

promoting start-ups and entrepreneurs.

“Their problem is not so much getting started but surviving and then

expanding into a scaled up business operation, especially across

borders in Europe. We need to make it easier for venture capital to invest

in start-ups. We need to make it easier to begin again after a failure,”

Ansip set out.

“European industry should consider more takeovers of start-ups,

buying into their expertise and innovation, and increasing exit

opportunities for founders in Europe. Both sides will gain, as will the

European economy. I have listened to SME concerns about taxation; I

am aware of the sensitivity.”

Cross-border business

Ansip then spoke of the difficulties small businesses are facing across

national borders and how such issues need to be addressed to help fuel

these businesses efficiently.

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

84

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

Ansip informed

delegates that start-

ups need “more

freedom to innovate

and scale up”