Today at the plenary session in Strasbourg we are voting on the Digital single Market report, of which I was a co-author. I have often said that in the European Parliament, a Member can wield the most influence when they serve as rapporteur on a given issue, so I am glad that I had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on this important topic, and help create a report which has the potential to affect many sectors throughout Europe.
To put the report in context, Vice-President Andrus Ansip presented the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy last May. As a reaction to that, we at the European Parliament prepared an own initiative report, which explains what our expectations are for the Commission’s strategy, and which direction we would like it to take.
It is important to note that getting our opinion out there was a matter of some urgency. New technologies emerge at a great pace, and there is a danger that each Member State will come up with their own set of rules of how to govern them. This would be an undesirable outcome, as it would create far too much confusion. For example, many companies are presently hesitant to invest in big data or cloud services, because they do not know, which rules the EU is going to apply to them, and so they lack legal certainty. Time is key here, then.
Following the plenary debate today, I was happy to see that most voices we heard were broadly supportive of the report, and that the digital revolution is seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. Estonia was also mentioned on several occasions as a positive example of a pro-digital state.