miércoles, 9 de enero de 2019

An EU digital start up strategy to fill up the digital single market

Many years ago, you began to buy the flats of a building. One day, you noticed you have acquired the whole building, so you would like to invite the people you like to come in and move freely inside it. But nobody came, because the internal walls that remains from the former flats make the movement quite difficult.  You remove the walls but there's still few activity inside the building because there are less people than needed to develop relevant activity within the building.

The story above is the story of the EU Digital Single Market. The EU have worked hard to eliminate the digital legal fragmentation within the EU, but once the barriers are almost removed we have noticed that there's still few activity within the Digital Single Market. There are few EU digital companies that can take advantage of the new distribution of the building,. So the moment have just arrived to boost the creation of companies to fill up the building. And therefore, this should be one of the pillars of the EU digital policy for the forthcoming legislative period.

The foundations to build on the results of the current EU start up strategy, the "Europe's next leaders: the Start-up and Scale-up Initiative". The initiative has deployed some instruments that have helped to promote digital entrepreunership and its scale up, but more efforts should be done. To begin with, the so-called "one top shop" should be reinforced with a significant participation of the Member States. And this will not be possible without developing a feeling of ownership through the development of an EU start up strategy based on the synergies with the national strategies.

There are other instruments that has been deployed in the last years and could be used to attract and retain digital talent in Europe. For instance, we are on the brink on the renewal of the EU Blue Card scheme that among other features will introduce a single EU-wide scheme and new rights for its holders and the families. The exchange of practices of Member States in the use of  these new tools for the promotion of digital entrepreunership would be ket to its global success in the EU.

And other instruments could be developed for the creation of real EU digital start ups. One via to explore is the adaptation of the Societas Europaea scheme to the needs of the start up or the creation of a similar instrument for this purpose.

But also, there is a need for funding instruments for start up projects. And the the next MFF should be the source of the funds. On one hand, programmes like Digital Europe or Horizon Europe could fund projects where start ups may take part. On the other hand, InvestEU is the ideal instrument to fund the creation and scale up of digital start ups through the creation of specific funds for this purpose.

The end of the Digital Single Market Strategy provide the rationale for a reinforcement of the EU digital start-ups strategie that reaps the benefits of the new scenario. Because without EU digital companies, the build up of the Digital Single market will have been in vain. And as we do not have digital companies, we will need to promote its creation and scale up.

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