“Digital Union of Europe”: Prospects for Europeanisation of Digital Policy

Written by | Thursday, March 19th, 2015

The digital markets of the 28 Member States should be transformed into a single “Digital Union of Europe” – this is at least what Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, hopes for. Despite the fact that the EU is the largest single market in the world, its digital economy is still fragmented. “One response to the digital revolution must be the Europeanisation of digital policy,” Günther Oettinger said on the sidelines of a major IT business fair in Hanover.

In his opinion, the formation of a digital single market can be a decisive asset for all. “We are still working in 28 fragmented silos, with many disadvantages for all participants,” he commented. The major problem is that national rules are becoming less and less impactful at the global level as a national data protection law is respected less and less by large tech companies like Apple, Google, or Facebook.

Mr Oettinger would like to see a European digital union that would become a capable partner for the United States, China and India. Currently, his team is working on creating rules for roaming and a uniform definition of net neutrality. The Commissioner also hopes that he will come up with a proposal for a uniform copyright law by the end of this year.

Mr Oettinger moreover thinks that it is also crucial to advertise for IT fields of study and jobs. He also pointed out that the EU labor market currently lacks about 150,000 IT specialists. At the same time, mechanical engineers, electricians, chemists, bank clerks, and booksellers all need “digital continuing education to maintain the prospects of their own jobs”, the EU Commissioner said and added that while many things can only be done in a European way, “not everything must be centralized at a European level.”

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