Digital Single Market: The EU Parliament responds to the Commission

By EDRi · January 28, 2016

On 19 January 2016, the European Parliament voted to adopt its report “Towards a Digital Single Market Act”. This Resolution is a non-legislative statement, prepared by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), in response to the European Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy presented on 6 May 2015.

While the Commission’s initial DSM Communication was characterised by ambiguities and contradictions,  the IMCO-ITRE draft Report demonstrates a more consistent approach to the matters at hand. The vote by the EU Parliament represents an important stage for the DSM strategy as it has finally expressed its position and recommendations to the Commission.

EDRi already applauded the clarity and adequacy of certain parts of the IMCO-ITRE report. In particular, we welcomed its approach on net neutrality and privatised law enforcement. Nonetheless, the report could have been better vis-à-vis the Commission’s nebulous “free flow of data” initiative and the almost ideological support for the once-only principle related to e-government. The report was barely changed for the vote in Plenary. The amendments adopted applied minor changes to the text on patents and telecom rules on transparency.

As the Parliament’s position is now, in principle, settled, it is time for the Commission to deliver.

After the vote, Commission’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip listed the proposals that the Commission is expected to make in 2016:

  • a proposal for mobile broadband in the telecom reform package in February;
  • a new industrial package in March, dealing with Internet of Things, clouds and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) priority standards;
  • a new action plan for the a new regulation on consumer protection and corporations, which includes provisions on e-commerce and geoblocking;
  • copyright proposals on the improvement of cross-border access to digital content, on exceptions and limitations and on the “follow the money” principle, all in June;
  • a proposal on the role of online platforms in June;
  • a review of the Audiovisual Media-Services Directive (AVMS) also in June;
  • a Satellite and Cable Directive review in June;
  • a cybersecurity proposal in July;
  • a second reform on the Telecom rules and infrastructures also in July;
  • the e-Privacy Directive review in November; and
  • an initiative on the free flow of data, also in November.

The Digital Single Market Strategy has numerous positive aspects, from the moment it identified the key issues for the creation of a Digital Single Market. Nevertheless, it is important that the Commission improves its strategy, putting individuals and their rights at the centre of any proposal they will issue.

Our overview of the Digital Single Market Communication (17.05.2015)

EDRi Briefing on the Draft Report on the Digital Single Market (06.10.2015)

EU Parliamentarians make statement on Digital Single Market (16.12.2015)

IMCO-ITRE Report “Towards a Digital Single Market Act” (14.12.2015) and plenary amendments (13.01.2016)

European Parliament’s Resolution “Towards a Digital Single Market Act” (19.01.2016)


(Contribution by Elisabetta Biasin, Intern at EDRi)