Motion for a resolution - B8-0287/2014Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the digital single market

    24.11.2014 - (2014/2973(RSP))

    to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
    pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Vicky Ford, Sajjad Karim on behalf of the ECR Group

    Procedure : 2014/2973(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  


    European Parliament resolution on the digital single market


    The European Parliament,

    –       having regard to Articles 3(3) and 6 of the Treaty on European Union,

    –       having regard to Articles 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 26, 114(3) and 169(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

    –       having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular to Articles 8, 11, 21 and 38 thereof,

    –       having regard to codecision procedure 2013/0309 on a proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent (COM(2013)0627),

    –       having regard to the Commission staff working document of 23 April 2013 entitled ‘E‑commerce Action Plan 2012-2015 – State of play 2013’ (SWD(2013)0153),

    –       having regard to the Commission’s Internal Market Scoreboard 26 of 18 February 2013,

    –       having regard to the Commission’s 2014 Digital Agenda Scoreboard reports,

    –       having regard to the Commission communication of 11 January 2012 entitled ‘A coherent framework for building trust in the digital single market for e-commerce and online services’ (COM(2011)0942),

    –       having regard to its resolution of 11 June 2013 on a new agenda for European consumer policy’[1],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2014 on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC[2],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 10 December 2013 on unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe[3],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2013 on completing the digital single market[4],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 11 December 2012 on completing the digital single market[5],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2012 on a strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers[6],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 20 April 2012 on ‘A competitive digital single market – e‑Government as a spearhead’[7],

    –       having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2011 on a new strategy for consumer policy[8],

    –       having regard to the 2013 study by its Policy Department A on how to build a ubiquitous EU digital society,

    –       having regard to the 2013 study by its Policy Department A entitled ‘Entertainment x.0 to boost broadband deployment’,

    –       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A.     whereas the digital single market is one of the areas of progress which, though entailing challenges, offers the potential for high efficiency gains that could amount to EUR 260 billion per year, thereby contributing to Europe’s recovery from the crisis;

    B.     whereas the digital single market is one of the most innovative sectors of the economy and is therefore playing a major role in the competitiveness of the European economy and contributing to economic growth through the development of e-commerce, while also facilitating the administrative and financial compliance of businesses and presenting consumers with a wider choice of goods and services;

    C.     whereas the digital single market not only offers economic benefits but also has a profound impact on the daily political, social and cultural life of EU consumers and citizens;

    D.     whereas a competitive digital single market cannot exist without fast, higher-capacity broadband and telecommunications networks across all EU regions, including remote areas; whereas there are a variety of different means to deliver this capacity, including private sector and public sector investment;

    E.     whereas the digital divide is having a direct negative impact on the development of the digital single market, in terms of both access to the internet and e-skills;

    F.     whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy and the security of electronic communications and networks are a priority in the digital single market, as these are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the securing of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it;

    G.     whereas online markets need to be flexible and consumer-friendly if they are to grow;

    H.     whereas e-commerce is an important complement to offline trade and a major driver of consumer choice, competition and technological innovation, and thus contributes to the European Union’s convergence into a knowledge-driven economy;

    I.      whereas unfettered competition and a level playing field for companies, which will foster investment, are vital to this sector of the economy as they will ensure its long-term sustainable development to the benefit of end-users; whereas effective competition is a good driver of efficient investment and can provide benefits for consumers in terms of choice, price and quality;

    J.      whereas in some areas of the digital single market there are vulnerabilities brought about by excessive market concentration and dominant operators;

    K.     whereas the challenge of market fragmentation and lack of interoperability in the European Union is an obstacle for the rapid development of the digital single market;

    L.     whereas employment created through the digital single market is, on average, highly skilled and remunerated and, as such, is an important contribution to the creation of quality and sustainable employment;

    1.      Calls on the Member States and the Commission, through sustained efforts of implementation of existing rules and enforcement of these rules, as part of an overarching strategy, to address all existing barriers that are hindering the development of the digital single market, while making sure that measures are impact-assessed, future-proof and fit for the digital age; stresses that these efforts need to be at the heart of the EU’s efforts to generate economic growth and employment and strengthen its competitiveness and resilience within the global economy;

    2.      Highlights, in particular, the potential of e-commerce, which, it is estimated, could save consumers more than EUR 11.7 billion a year if they could choose from the full range of EU goods and services when shopping online;

    3.      Notes, in particular, the need to address the obstacles which remain for consumers and businesses regarding e-commerce, including, inter alia, online services, access to digital content, fraud prevention, website registrations, sales promotions and labelling;

    4.      Calls for fundamental rights to be respected within the development of the digital single market in order to ensure the full protection of European citizens in the digital world;

    5.      Stresses the need to tackle and combat the digital divide in order to fully grasp the potential of the digital single market and to enable the inclusion of all citizens, regardless of their income, social situation, geographical location, health or age, in society in the digital era;

    6.      Calls on the Commission to ensure a swift implementation to further open up the single market for services by encouraging a sector-specific approach to services to generate growth in areas with the most economic potential, including e-commerce, business services and insurance, and to ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules such as the Consumer Rights Directive, alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution, while ensuring the reduction of administrative burdens;

    7.      Calls for the swift adoption of the new modernised Data Protection Regulation in order to provide an appropriate balance between a high level of protection of personal data, user safety and control over one’s personal data, and a stable, predictable legislative environment in which businesses, innovation and economic growth can flourish in an enhanced single market for the benefit of end users, a level playing field fostering investment and an environment contributing to the attractiveness of the EU as a destination for businesses; calls on the Commission and the Member States to allocate the necessary resources to fight cybercrime by means of legislative measures and law enforcement cooperation, at both national and EU level, particularly through the use of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3);

    8.      Underlines the potential of big data analytics in generating growth and facilitating innovation, research and development in areas including health;

    9.      Stresses the need to ensure a level playing field for companies operating in the digital single market in order for them to be able to compete; calls, therefore, on the Commission to properly enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of dominant position, and to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services;

    10.    Notes that a level playing field for companies in the digital single market must be ensured in order to guarantee a vibrant digital economy in the EU; stresses that a thorough enforcement of EU competition rules in the digital single market will be determinant for the market’s growth, consumer access and choice and competitiveness in the long term; highlights the importance of affording consumers the same protection online as they enjoy in their traditional markets;

    11.    Urges the Council to make swift progress and open negotiations with Parliament on the proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, as this would concretely put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality and improve consumer protection inside the digital single market;

    12.    Strongly believes in the principle of an open internet where traffic is treated equally in a non-discriminatory manner; recognises, however, that the increase in the use of the internet, in particular Internet Protocol TV, has put further pressure on service providers to efficiently manage their network capacity using traffic management tools; believes that any further legislation in this area must have consumer protection at its core whilst permitting necessary traffic management and specialised services where they are not materially detrimental to other users, and at the same time endowing authorities with the ability to take action against criminality;

    13.    Notes that the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given the potential development of search engines into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; calls, therefore, on the Commission to enforce EU competition rules decisively, based on input from all relevant stakeholders and taking into account the entire structure of the digital single market in order to ensure remedies that truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term solution;

    14.    Stresses that, when operating search engines, the search process and results for users should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, to ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and to maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by search engine operators;

    15.    Welcomes the announcement of further investigations by the Commission into search engine practices and the digital market in general; notes the possibility of the Commission to implement remedies to address possible competition concerns; believes that specific competition measures and general initiatives aimed at improving the digital single market have different aims and should be seen as distinct, particularly with regard to policy initiatives which should comply with the principles of better lawmaking;

    16.    Calls on the Commission to come up with the long overdue copyright reform, in particular with regard to measures which would enhance the potential of the digital single market, particularly concerning access to content, dissemination of knowledge and viable models for cross-border services; considers, in this connection, that the review of Directive 2001/29/EC is fundamental for the future reform, which should take into account new technologies and consumer and user behaviour;

    17.    Stresses the importance of ensuring an efficient and balanced framework for the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights, geared to the reality of the digital economy, while guaranteeing the interests of consumers and internet users;

    18.    Underlines the need to ensure internet safety online, in particular for children, and to prevent child exploitation by ensuring that means are in place to detect and eradicate illegal child abuse images on the Internet and by enabling means to prevent children and adolescents accessing age-restricted content;

    19.    Encourages the swift adoption and enactment of international provisions facilitating access of disabled users to digital content and to printed works through their digitisation; welcomes the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access for the visually impaired to books, and encourages all signatories to ratify the Treaty; believes that the Marrakesh Treaty represents a good step forward, but that much work remains to be done in order to open up access to content for people with disabilities, in addition to those affected by visual impairment; highlights the importance of further enhancing accessibility across a broad spectrum of areas, from copyright and search engines to telecommunications operators;

    20.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop and implement EU and national regulatory frameworks to allow an integrated and secure online and mobile payments market, while ensuring the protection of consumer and customer data; underlines, in this connection, the need for clear and predictable rules, set out in legislation;

    21.    Recalls that, as highlighted in the Cost of Non-Europe report, cloud computing can become a powerful instrument for the development of the digital single market, and can offer economic benefits, particularly for SMEs, by reducing IT infrastructure and other costs; highlights, in this respect, that if cloud services are provided only by a limited number of large providers, an increasing amount of information will be aggregated in the hands of those providers; calls for proper implementation of the European strategy to guarantee competitive and secure cloud computing;

    22.    Calls on the Commission to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing, which enable privacy-friendly, reliable, accessible, highly interoperable, secure and energy-efficient cloud services as an integral part of a future Union industrial policy; stresses that reliability, security and protection of data are needed for consumer confidence and competitiveness;

    23.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.