Tech bodies call on EC to keep Digital Single Market promise


techUK has joined the leading tech bodies in France and Germany to call on the European Commission to deliver the economic promise of the Digital Single Market.

techUK says it’s in the clear interests of UK and European consumers and businesses alike to achieve an effective Digital Single Market that is future-focused and biased towards innovation.

The triumvirate of tech bodies share concerns that current proposals are straying from this objective in too many areas. Recent proposals have been overly prescriptive and fail to embrace benefits of the digital revolution, they say.

In July 2015, techUK, Syntec Numerique and Bitkom, who collectively represent over 5,000 tech companies employing over 1.9 million people, launched eight principles to accelerate a Digital Single Market for jobs and inclusive growth. Now they are urging policymakers to use these principles to get these proposals back on track to deliver the best economic news and prosperity across Europe post-Brexit.

Regardless of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, it has been suggested that policymakers prioritise trade, data flows, innovation and collaboration as they move forward with the Digital Single Market strategy.


A shared vision

A techUK statement says that since its launch the Digital Single Market initiative has advanced, but more remains to be done to capture the benefits of a truly single market that supports innovation and job creation.

It adds that, at present, the European Commission risks veering off track in a number of areas, including the duplication of new data rules in the review of the ePrivacy Directive and worrying proposals to undermine the freedom to hyperlink through new forms of ancillary copyright. This direction of travel, due for finalisation over the coming months, is anti-innovation and risk harming rather than supporting the digital economy.

The three organisations also encourage a future-proofed telecoms framework that delivers fair competition and suitable consumer protections.

Similarly, the commission must recognise platform companies as engines of growth and resist protectionist instincts on cross-border data flows. The three organisations caution the Commission to understand the implications of introducing sweeping new legal concepts, such as data ownership, that could risk destabilising Europe’s potential in the digital economy. Data and trade go hand in hand in today’s global economy, and data-driven innovation is only possible where many types of data can flow securely and freely across borders.

Julian David, CEO of techUK said: “The tech communities across our three countries are deeply committed to achieving a positive and smooth transition as the UK changes the nature of its relationship with the European Union. Digital commerce between our three countries will be fundamental as the UK forges its new future after the referendum. Challenges and opportunities lie ahead on all sides, but together we can ensure our close economic ties continue to grow for the benefit of all our economies.”

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