EU unveils digital strategy
With the hope that breaking down borders can revive the bloc's economy, the EU has unveiled plans to shake up rules for online services, but has risked accusations of trying to throw up new barriers to the US firms that dominate its market.
On Wednesday, with some fanfare the European Commission came up with a range of broad policy proposals. They were ranging from possible new regulation for Web platforms including Google and Facebook to popular plans for cutting delivery costs on online shopping over EU borders and ending blocks on watching online videos abroad.
The Digital Single Market Strategy is focused on Jean-Claude Juncker's strategy for the creation of jobs across the 28-nation bloc and the Commission president, in office since November, won cautious plaudits from across EU politics for what remain general ideas.
Juncker posted a jokey online video for the occasion that seeked to burnish the EU's threadbare populist credentials. Juncker said that today, they have laid the groundwork for Europe's digital future.
He said, “I want to see pan-continental telecoms networks, digital services that cross borders and a wave of innovative European start-ups. I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market”.
Representatives of big US tech companies have given a warning against snaring fast-moving industries in ways that would hurt a Europe that US President Barack Obama recently accused of taking a protectionist turn. However, these companies have already started smarting from last month's move by the new Commission to pursue Google on antitrust charges.
Following the confirmation of the EU plan to complete a major review of the platform business by the end of the year for accessing the value of calls for them to be more tightly overseen, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) issued a statement. It said that the idea of regulating platforms is ill-conceived.
The CCIA argued that such rules could hurt the small European start-ups more than incumbent global giants with big legal teams.
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