The European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy: Focused. Ambitious. Effective?

FTI hosts event captivating initial reactions to the Commission’s announcement

One DSM eventday after the Commission announced the Digital Single Market Strategy, FTI Consulting invited three speakers from the European Commission, European Parliament and the tech industry to debate the key challenges and opportunities the DSM faces.

Having taken a leading role in drafting the DSM strategy paper, Jasmin Battista, Cabinet Member of Vice-President Ansip, offered her insights from the Commission’s perspective. Josephine Wood, adviser to the S&D group on digital issues and running the S&D Digital Europe Working Group, and Jean-Marc Leclerc, Director at Digital Europe, shared their first thoughts on the DSM strategy paper.

As one of the key priorities of Juncker’s mandate, the much anticipated DSM strategy lays out how the Commission wants to help Europe reap the opportunities offered by digitalisation. It aims at nothing less than transforming European society and economy so that they can face the future with confidence.

Jasmin Battista was optimistic about the strategy’s prospect.  She argued that thanks to its new structure under Juncker – with VPs coordinating between the different services and cabinets – the Commission has become more focused and effective.

When pushed on how the DSM strategy can avoid past deadlocks she was quick to point out that Member States had been involved from the get-go. Striking a defiant note, Jasmin Battista argued that the Commission will continue to put pressure on the Member States to discuss those policy areas at EU-level, such as spectrum, where these were reluctant to do so before.

Josephine Wood hailed the launch of the DSM strategy a masterpiece, for its timely delivery of the much needed roadmap to create a Digital Single Market, especially considering the involvement of a high number of Commission services. Spanning different issues such as copyright, e-commerce, telecoms and digital skills, she said that the Parliament is rearing to go and is looking forward to the concrete proposals. As a word of caution, Josephine Wood called upon everyone not to lose sight of the value dimension in this debate: “Let’s not forget the social”.

The tech industry, Jean-Marc Leclerc argued, will be pleased with the Commission’s clear commitment to the Principles of Better Regulation. Clearly upbeat about the potential this strategy holds for Europe, Leclerc also reminded participants that the “devil lies in the detail”. He further cautioned that some of the announced initiatives depend on the outcome of currently negotiated files. A European Cloud can only happen for instance if rules on data protection and cybersecurity are finally adopted.

Jasmin Battista was adamant that this time around, having learned its lesson from past mistakes, the European Union can tackle the challenge of digitalisation head on. With a more focused Commission, the Member States closely involved from the very beginning and a prevalent feeling of urgency in the industry and the European Parliament, the DSM strategy is the roadmap Europe needs to return to the forefront of the global digital revolution.

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