Kaja Kallas: Digital Single Market Strategy Creates New Opportunities for Everyone
5 December 2016, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 33
What is the significance of the European digital single market?
Nowadays, nearly every aspect of the economy is related to digital aspects. Although the internet is global and it knows no borders, there are still artificial borders that we need to take down to enable the digital market in Europe. The digital market strategy proposal is aimed to take down the barriers and create a real single market for digital services. The digital single market strategy comprises sixteen different topics that are related to different aspects and all aim at the same thing mentioned above, so that people and companies would be free to operate, sell and buy cross-borders. In order to name a few specific issues in relation to the digital single market, we have to start with the infrastructure. The backbone of the digital single market is, of course, the network. We cannot talk about the digital market that reaches everybody without the connection to the internet, since there are no digital services available without the internet. Secondly, we need to modernise copyright legislation; I am of the opinion that the copyright regime does not take into account that our world has changed. Every consumer is an author and every author is a consumer. People understand that authors have made an effort to create something and are willing to pay for it. We just have to create the best environment and framework to connect the dots. And thirdly, something that is very close to my heart – e-governance. I have strongly pushed for the once only principle, the principle that a citizen only submits information once to the administration, instead of submitting the same information over and over again, and for the public administration to be digital by default, because, in Estonia, where I come from, we have estimated that, by enabling companies to do their administrative tasks via digital means, we save one week of working hours per year. This issue is very closely related to taxation that most companies find the biggest obstacle in doing cross-border trade. I am certain that, if the VAT declarations would be the same and fillable cross-Europe via the internet, the share of online sales would grow.
What are the potentials of new technology business models in the vastly growing collaborative (i.e. sharing) economy sector, both at the EU level and in smaller markets such as Croatia?
Every single sector will be disrupted where there is the potential for technologies to solve problems or improve productivity, be it medical technologies, energy systems, automotive or logistics industries. For example, car makers will become more like platform providers than real car producers. To give another example, a parcel delivery robot was invented by the founders of Skype that are now delivering parcels in many European cities. The digital single market strategy shows strong support for the sharing economy and calls for the removal of artificial barriers which hinder its growth. This will enable us to reap the benefits of the digital market and create new opportunities for businesses, citizens, public bodies and consumers. Also, employment laws should be updated to allow new flexible forms of employment to emerge. This is also strongly linked with the emergence of the sharing economy…