This week members of the European Parliament discussed the legal implications of the Digital Single Market strategy of the European Commission. Overall, the members welcome the strategy as a first step in removing trade barriers for businesses in the European Union (EU). The politicians expressed concern however about the current level of legal fragmentation in EU Member States. They wonder if the Digital Single Market strategy is sufficient to harmonize rules about digital issues throughout Europe without cooperation from the Member States.
European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs
The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs is a Committee that has a wide variety of topics on its plate: from the protection of trade secrets to discussions on the revision of Summer time, it is clear that most of the Commission’s proposals should be discussed from a legal point of view. The Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy , in which the European Commission has made a new legislative proposal to modernize the Digital Single Market, is no exception to this rule.
Discussion on the DSM
Yesterday, the Committee discussed the current state of affairs on the DSM Strategy. Many of its members welcome the plan of the Commission. For instance, Bulgarian Member of Parliament and rapporteur of the report Dzhambazki mentioned the importance of the removal of trade barriers so businesses can grow and competitiveness in the EU increases. MEPs of all political colours raised similar points.
Concerns were expressed as well. For example, as was pointed out by Ms. Gebhart (S&D), how does the DSM deal with specific regulations in Member States? The current level of legal fragmentation throughout the EU 28 Member States is a matter of concern to Ecommerce Europe as well: The association has long been asking for more harmonization of the rules for e-commerce throughout Europe, so that online shops can sell in another Member State without fear of breaking foreign laws. Ecommerce Europe views the Digital Single Market strategy as a good first step in the right direction to come to more legal certainty for businesses, but much more work remains to be done.
The deadline for further suggestions from the Committee has been prolonged until Monday the 21st of September, with a final presentation of the draft in the November Strasbourg session of the Parliament. Ecommerce Europe will closely monitor the process to ensure that the concerns and wishes of the European e-commerce sector are taken into account in the process. Moreover, Ecommerce Europe is in close contact with the European Commission to help shape legislation that is ready for the Digital Single Market of the future.
For more information about Ecommerce Europe’s priorities for a policy landscape that fosters e-commerce growth, please see the Ecommerce Europe Priority Paper (2015).