The European Commission come in front and make a big plan to bring Europe’s main industries into the digital age to help drive a continent-wide economic recovery, according to a commission strategy paper.
The president and vice president announced a new document on Brussels, which argue that “Europe has the capabilities to lead in the global digital economy but we are currently not making the most of them. Fragmentation and barriers that do not exist in the physical Single Market are holding the EU back.”
One of the most potentially significant initiatives in the new plan is a wide-ranging inquiry that will look into whether big Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are abusing their market dominance to promote their own services.
“Some platforms can control access to online markets and can exercise significant influence,” the strategy document says. “This has led to a number of concerns over the growing market power of some platforms. These include a lack of transparency as to how they use the information they acquire, their strong bargaining power compared to that of their clients, which may be reflected in their terms and conditions (particularly for SMEs), promotion of their own services and hosting domain, to the disadvantage of competitors, and non-transparent pricing policies, or restrictions on pricing and sale conditions.”
“We are supportive of legislation which moves us closer to a true European Digital Single Market without limiting innovation and growth,” Facebook said in response to today’s announcement. “We will assess the proposals individually as they are published.”
“A Digital Single Market is one in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured,” says the strategy document, “where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence.”
To that end, the Digital Single Market Strategy seeks to reform copyright rules; remove geographic barriers across different member states for both online geo-blocking and real-world parcel delivery.
“Of course, what the Commission hopes is that the Strategy will create the conditions for EU versions of the big US tech companies to develop, because they would suddenly have a huge, pan-EU potential market for their services.”