miércoles, 8 de junio de 2016

#TTIPleaks and the #DigitalSingleMarket

On May 1st, Greenpeace published a collection of documents allegedly coming from TTIP negotiations. The European Commission brought down its value as outdated and the mere reflection of negotiation positions, but did not deny the verity of the documents. The press release that accompanied the leak was focused in the parts of the documents related with the environment and climate protection and consumer safety. However, TTIP aims to contain provisions regarding to the many faces of the trade relationships between US and UE and the leak contains hints about the negotiations of some of them.

Regarding the digital economy, the set of leaked documents contains a text regarding "Electronic Communications" and some interesting references in the document called "Tactical State of the Play". Furthermore, perhaps the paragraphs that mention digital issues in the latter are more valuable to draw conclusions than the former.

The "Electronic Communications" document only reflects the proposals from both negotiation side without any element to judge which has been or will be the option finally chosen. We can only infer that there is a intention to conciliate the different concepts and provisions of the Telecommunication Legal Framework at both sides of the Atlantic. The main question that one could pose on the table is which is going to be in the next future the relationship between the discreet negotiation of this chapter and the ordinary legislative process for the reform of the EU Telecommunications  Framework foreseen in the Digital Single Market Strategy.

The "Tactical State of the Play" is a much more interesting document, although it must be highlighted that reflects the results of the 12th round and the last round held was the 13th. From a global perspective, the document is a more ample and precise dossier of the state of the negotiations that the official report of the 12th round. Regarding the digital economy area, it reflects clearly the importance of the free-flow of data issue for US, which appears as one of the main roadblocks of the negotiation ("The US signaled that progress on these key EU interests might be accelerated if discussions on data flows and computing facilities also advanced faster"). Again, it will be interested to have a clear view of the conection between the free-flow of data negotiations within TTIP and the free-flow of data initiative for the Digital Single Market that the EC has announced it will present by the end of 2016 (see the communication on "Digitising European Industry").

It is difficult to say how the TTIP will conditionate in the future the regulation capacity of the UE on the field of the digital economy. However, there are elements that certainly will conditionate the near future, particularly the development of the legislative proposals for completing the Digital Single Market. Some clarity on how TTIP negotiations and the legislative process for this initiatives are going to be reconciliate would be useful.

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