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A European Digital Single Market Coming Soon?

On Wednesday this week, plans were unveiled by the European Commission which could transform the way we shop online. “At present, barriers online mean citizens miss out on goods and services: only 15% shop online from another EU country; Internet companies and start-ups cannot take full advantage of growth opportunities online: only 7% of SMEs sell cross-border”, says the European commission.

The new plans aim to tear down regulatory walls and move from 28 national markets to a single one, meaning consumers will find it just as easy to buy from any other EU country as they would their own. With only 15% of consumers buying online from other EU countries in 2014, and 44% doing so domestically, this could have a profound impact on our shopping habits. It is estimated that EU consumers could save €11.7 billion each year if they could choose from a full range of EU goods and services when shopping online.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday: “Today, we lay the groundwork for Europe’s digital future. 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 – wherever they are in Europe. Exactly a year ago, I promised to make a fully Digital Single Market one of my top priorities. Today, we are making good on that promise. The 16 steps of our Digital Single Market Strategy will help make the Single Market fit for a digital age.”

The proposals for the digital single market will be on the agenda of the European Council meeting on June 25-26. A final draft of proposals will then go to individual European parliaments to be debated. The European parliament will then vote on a final draft.

How this move will affect the consumers and small to medium business remains to be seen. However one thing is for sure, this really could be the start of a digital revolution in Europe.

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