miércoles, 4 de mayo de 2016

#DigitalSingleMarket : A year on

On May 6th 2015 the European Commission presented the communication containing its strategy to complete the Digital Single Market. Achieving the Digital Single Market was among the ten priorities listed by Jean Claude Juncker in his government programme and it is considered the logical update of the European Internal Market in the digital era. One year after, it is time to review the work that has been done and the outlook for the future.

According with the better regulation principles, the last six months of 2015 the Commission published a serie of public consultations (that continued in 2016). A total of sixteen consultations have been developed following a not defined pattern. Some of the measures included in the communication were the object of several consultations (e.g. copyright or telco) while others were measures share the public consultation (e.g. cloud & platforms). 

The first half of 2016 (and the last month of 2015) has been the period for the first serie of legislative and non legislative packets. The European Commission has published this proposals as thematic packages. The Commission have presented a copyright package accompanied by a online contract rules package, a proposal for the usage of the 700 MHz band and package for the digitalisation of industry and public services which includes also cloud and ICT standards initiatives.

Some of the packets have fulfilled the expectations, but other have been a dissapointment. Among the latter, I include the copyright package. While everyone was expected a full review of the copyright framework, the European Commission presented only a tiny piece of regulation for digital content and a new roadmap for the never delivered copyright reform. The copyright package gives the impression that the EC is too cautious with the thorny issues. The impression could be consolidated if the leak of the communication on platforms is confirmed by the end of the month.

The DSM strategy was initially planned for the years 2015-2016. Therefore, all the actions planned should have been finished within six months. It should be noted that this does not mean that the DSM will be completed by the end of 2016. It only means that the EC would have put on the table all the ideas for completing the DSM. It should not be expected that any legislative proposal could be approval before the end of 2018. Even the smaller tiny piece of legislation will be complex to approve. For instance, the decission for the usage of the 700 MHz band was expected to be approved in six months (during the Netherlands Presidency) and right now we do not have a date for the vote in the Parliament. 

But even it is hardly to expect that all the proposals for completing the DSM would be on the table before the end of 2016. Some of the package already contains reference of measures to be developed in 2017. Furthermore, some of the initiatives presented have been published with delay. 

To sum up, we should recognise the efforts done by the EC but a realistic review  could not overlook some signs of alert. First, the delay the implementation of the communication. Secondly, the long process of approval of an EU legislation (3,6 years on average) that will extend the real development of the DSM strategy until 2020 (at least). Now the question is if EU would be able to accelerate the process and deliver on time.

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