The EU’s Single Market: Digital enough to compete globally?

The European Union, with 500 million consumers, has huge potential in digitalising the economy. The ‘Digital Single Market’ is no longer stand-alone. Rather, digitalisation affects all sectors and companies. It is argued that European digital services lag behind the US and China, especially when it comes to its global presence. However, opportunities exist in B2C and B2B services and beyond.

In order for the digitalisation of the Single Market to reach its full potential, regulation has an important role to play. It can be leveraged to the bloc’s competitive advantage, if used wisely. The EU’s data protection and privacy laws are seen as exemplary the world over. With the bloc working hard to consider the ethical implications of burgeoning technologies such as AI, some argue that the EU’s greatest strength lies in its commitment to high standards of trust and consumer protection, while others are worried about overregulation.

‘Digital Europe’ is a new programme that builds on the Digital Single Market strategy launched in May 2015 and its achievements over the past years. Its main objective is to shape Europe’s digital transformation to the benefit of citizens and businesses.

The Connecting Europe Facility focuses on projects of highest European added value and particularly on cross-border connections. On digital, it will contribute to ensuring that all main socio-economic drivers such as schools, hospitals, and transport hubs, main providers of public services and digitally-intensive enterprises have access to future- oriented broadband connections by 2025.

EURACTIV organised this Stakeholder Forum to discuss the challenges for the new European Commission to make Europe’s digital sector competitive on a global scale.

Questions included:

  • What is preventing the Single Market from reaching the true potential of digitalisation? How can policymakers help?
  • Is Europe hampered by the lack of digital skills and private investment? How can these be overcome?
  • What does digitalisation mean for the future of work?
  • Is the EU’s ‘Digital Europe’ programme properly designed to ensure Europe competes on a global level in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics, high-performance computing, and big data?

>> Click here for more information about the event.

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