More effort is needed to integrate the EU digital single market, so as to unlock its growth and job-creating potential, stressed MEPs in Tuesday’s debate with EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier. Measures to bring together the 28 national digital markets should include ending mobile roaming charges, promoting e-commerce, ensuring open access to the Internet for users and neutral treatment of its service providers, and also better data protection, they added.
"Over the last five years, significant progress has been made on creating digital single market, but numerous obstacles still exist", noted Commissioner Barnier, stressing that only 14% of the EU’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trade online.
Many MEPs shared the view that the digital single market is far from complete. "Member states need to get away from their egocentric focus on their own rules. We need more uniform rules and a level playing field for SMEs in Europe", said Andreas Schwab (DE) for the EPP group. He was backed by Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE) who stressed that EU needs a sensible policy to give consumers and companies more certainty as to the law.
"Unlocking the opportunities of the digital market is key for delivering growth and jobs. In e-commerce alone we could save our consumers €60 billion a year from lower prices and €95 billion from having more choices", said Vicky Ford (UK) on behalf of the ECR group.
"A Czech should be able to buy music from France", said Dita Charanzova (ALDE, CZ) regretting that the digital “single market” is in many ways still fragmented among the 28 member states.
"Net neutrality and data protection are not yet working", stressed Jan Philipp Albrecht (Greens, DE). "We need also to build physical infrastructure" to improve internet access, added David Borrelli (EFDD, IT).