Motion for a resolution - B8-0288/2014Motion 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

    Dita Charanzová, Pavel Telička, Javier Nart, Antanas Guoga, Gérard Deprez, Juan Carlos Girauta Vidal on behalf of the ALDE 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 7, 8, 11, 21, 38 and 52 thereof,

    –       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 its resolution of 12 March 2014 on the US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs[9],

    –       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 on discrimination of consumers in the digital single market,

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

    −      having regard to the Court of Justice judgment of 8 April 2014 in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, in which the Data Retention Directive was declared invalid,

    −      having regard to its position on a proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent[10],

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

    A.     whereas the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has identified 10 priorities for 2015 and has expressed his wish to strengthen the cooperation between the European institutions in drafting the Commission’s annual work programme;

    B.     whereas the second priority relates to a connected digital single market which should consist of a digital single market package;

    C.     whereas the completion of a European digital single market would create millions of jobs and potentially enable Europe to gain 4 % in GDP by 2020;

    D.     whereas an increase in the broadband penetration rate by 10 percentage points is expected to increase annual per capita GDP growth by 0.9 to 1.5 percentage points;

    E.     whereas the app economy alone is expected to triple its revenue from 2013 to 2018, creating 3 million jobs in the same period;

    F.     whereas Parliament has commissioned a study to analyse the Cost of Non-Europe in the Digital Single Market, which reinforces the importance of seeing digital solutions as an opportunity for consumers, citizens and businesses and not as a threat;

    G.     whereas the Union needs to foster the mass adoption of cloud computing in Europe, as it constitutes a powerful driver for the growth of the European economy; whereas the study gives evidence of significant expected gains linked to its fast development;

    H.     whereas the fact that intelligence agencies have accessed personal data of users of online services has severely distorted the trust of citizens in such services, and therefore has an adverse effect on businesses investing in the development of new services using ‘Big Data’ or new applications such as the ‘Internet of Things’;

    I.      whereas obstacles hindering consumers’ participation in the digital single market relate to discriminatory practices such as the restriction of service providers to certain countries or territories, simple refusal to sell, automatic rerouting, and unjustified diversification of conditions of sale;

    J.      whereas secure, efficient, competitive and innovative mobile payments and e-payments are crucial if consumers are to enjoy the full benefits of the single market;

    K.     whereas there is a lack of knowledge among consumers of alternatives to the national postal service, or consumers tend to believe that the available alternatives provide a lower quality service;

    L.     whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy, as well as the cybersecurity and 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;

    M.    whereas net neutrality is required to protect innovation on the internet;

    N.     whereas the cultural sector is being severely affected by the crisis; whereas the legal framework for copyright should integrate the development of new digital technologies while ensuring proper remuneration for right holders; whereas the development of the internet, social networks and connected TV continues to be a huge challenge and should not be seen as detrimental to our cultural and creative industries, which create jobs and contribute significantly to GDP;

    O.     whereas the EU is lagging behind its main competitors such as the United States in ICT investment, broadband rollout and digital innovation, mainly because of the fragmentation of the digital single market;

    P.     whereas sufficient spectrum resources must be made available in order to accommodate the exponential growth in mobile data and meet growing demand;

    Q.     whereas the trans-European availability of widespread, high-speed and secure fast internet access and digital services in the public interest is essential for social and economic growth, competitiveness, social inclusion and the single market;

    R.     whereas the development of high-speed broadband networks will benefit from European technical standards; whereas research and development programmes at EU level and increased monitoring of standardisation procedures are needed if the Union is to play a pivotal role in the telecommunications industry;

    S.     whereas research, development and innovation in the digital economy will help ensure that Europe remains competitive in the mid to longer term;

    T.     whereas a rapid deployment of high-speed broadband networks is crucial for the development of European productivity and for the emergence of new and small enterprises that can be leaders in different sectors, for example healthcare, manufacturing and the service industries;

    U.     whereas the private sector should play the leading role in rolling out and modernising broadband networks, supported by a competitive and investment-friendly regulatory framework;

    V.     whereas the EU institutions should do much more to lead the way in digitalising public services;

    Priority initiatives for 2015

    1.      Calls on the Commission to include in the digital single market package to be adopted in 2015 a set of legislative and non-legislative initiatives (hereinafter referred to as ‘the initiatives’) aiming at fostering consumer trust online and simplifying consumer regulation for online purchases;

    A single European telecoms regulator

    2.      Asks the Commission to propose an initiative establishing a single European telecommunications regulator, which will be the key to decompartmentalising the existing digital single market;

    Delivering digital infrastructure and closing the investment gap

    3.      Calls on the Commission to adopt initiatives to secure, via the private sector, a massive increase in financing for projects that help accelerate the roll-out of ultra-high-speed broadband networks, stimulate the creation and adoption of productivity-enhancing digital services, close the digital gap in rural areas for high-speed access, and enhance the security and resilience of ICT networks and applications through investments in EU-based infrastructure;

    4.      Considers that the initiatives should also deliver a revised forward-looking digital agenda target for 2020 to ensure that all EU households can access broadband connections delivering 100 megabits/second, with 50 % of households subscribing to 1 gigabit/second or more;

    Fostering digital entrepreneurship and skills

    5.      Asks the Commission to put forward an initiative for digital entrepreneurship, since this is critical for the creation of new jobs and innovative ideas, including measures to improve access to finance for new digital entrepreneurs (for instance through crowdsourcing) and encourage second chances for failed entrepreneurs;

    Cloud computing

    6.      Considers that the initiatives should in particular contain a legislative proposal in the area of cloud computing, in order to respond to the lack of liability of cloud computing service providers and the inconsistency of transnational laws and regulations;

    7.      Stresses that if cloud services are provided by only a limited number of big providers, increasing amounts of information will be aggregated in the hands of those providers; further recalls that cloud computing also entails risks for users, especially small businesses, in particular as regards sensitive data and trade secrets;

    8.      Notes that trust in cloud computing and cloud providers has been negatively affected by mass surveillance practices; emphasises, therefore, the development of clouds and IT solutions as an essential element for growth and employment and for trust in cloud computing services and providers, as well as for ensuring a high level of personal data protection;

    9.      Calls on the Commission to take the lead in promoting the development of European standards and specifications for cloud computing and their promotion internationally which enable privacy-friendly, reliable, 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;


    10.    Reconfirms its belief that the elimination of roaming charges is already long overdue; stresses that pushing back the date beyond 15 December 2015 and allowing extra charges for people travelling within the EU would be unacceptable;

    Discrimination against consumers online

    11.    Regrets that consumers suffer from discrimination when shopping online; considers that the initiatives should therefore also address horizontally these discriminatory practices based on nationality or place of residence, which occur in many different areas of EU law;

    12.    While welcoming the growth of e-commerce, notes the dominant position in some Member States of only a few actors in the direct sale of physical goods or as a market-based platform for others to sell physical goods; stresses the need at European level to monitor and prevent the abuse of such dominant positions in terms of the availability of goods to consumers and the charges required of SMEs for using such market-based platforms;

    Search market and price comparison websites

    13.    Welcomes the announcement by the Commissioner for competition of further investigations by the Commission into search engines’ practices and the digital market in general;

    14.    Notes that the online search market and price comparison websites are of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given their potential development into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; therefore calls on the Commission to strengthen the monitoring of so-called ‘first mover’ advantages and network effects in the digital sector that can quickly develop into abuses of dominant positions, and to enforce EU competition rules decisively, on the basis of 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;

    15.    Furthermore calls on the Commission to act quickly to consider potential solutions tending towards a balanced, fair and open internet search structure;

    16.    Stresses that when using search engines and price comparison websites, the search process and results should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking must be unbiased and transparent, while for interlinked services, search engines and price comparison websites must guarantee full transparency when showing search results; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services;

    Mobile payments and e-payments

    17.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop and implement EU and national regulatory frameworks in order to enable an integrated, secure and innovative online and mobile payments market, while ensuring the protection of consumers’ and customers’ data; calls in this respect for the clear identification of the respective rights and obligations of all parties, including third-party providers; underlines the need for clear and transparent rules set in legislation to enable the capture and promotion of new technological developments;

    18.    Regrets the substantial heterogeneity of commercial practices between Member States in mobile payments and the excessive costs of making cross-border payments, which prevent the market from growing faster;

    19.    Stresses the need to further incorporate online payment systems into the SEPA; asks the Commission to accelerate its work on card, internet and mobile payments with a view to the development of European standards in this area, and to make concrete proposals in the context on the initiatives, while ensuring that no initiative excludes new entrants or deters innovation;

    Parcel delivery

    20.    Considers that the initiatives should encourage self-regulation in the area of postal and parcel delivery in order to fill the considerable information gaps which exist in relation to the availability of various delivery services and associated delivery options, both for consumers and e-retailers;

    21.    Stresses that fast, reliable, and affordable end-to-end parcel delivery services are essential for the competitiveness of small online retailers; calls on the Commission to take action to ensure improved customs processes, harmonised shipping regimes, and raised de minimis thresholds for customs duties;

    Online distribution restrictions

    22.    Calls on the Commission to combat discriminatory practices in the field of online distribution as governed by the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation (Commission Regulation (EU) No 330/2010), so as to safeguard the ability of distributors to use innovative distribution methods and to reach a greater number and spectrum of customers;

    Internet of Things

    23.    Calls on the Commission to introduce in the initiatives ambitious proposals on the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communication standards and to prepare pilot projects; stresses that European companies and institutions must play a greater role in creating international Internet of Things standards; believes that Europe could be a voice for strong data protection protocols in this area and underlines the need to protect Internet of Things data from misuse, manipulation, or cyberattack; insists in this regard that specific measures must be adopted to ensure that terminal equipment is compatible with the right of users to control and protect their personal data, and to ensure a high level of security of telecommunication networks and services;

    24.    Asks the Commission to set out clear rules requiring ‘opt-in’ by users for their data from hardware used for health, exercise or any other tracking purposes to be used for advertising, marketing or lifestyle purposes; stresses that users must be able to easily stop such practices without losing access to the other functions of the hardware or software related to it;

    25.    Calls on businesses providing new services using ‘Big Data’ and new applications such as the Internet of Things to build in data protection measures already at the development stage, in order to maintain a high level of trust among citizens;

    Net neutrality

    26.    Recalls that net neutrality is of the utmost importance to ensure that there is no discrimination between internet services and that competition is fully guaranteed;

    27.    Considers that net neutrality needs to be clearly defined in line with Parliament’s definitions and guaranteed and strictly enshrined in law in order to enable small and medium-sized enterprises, non-governmental organisations, and other social and economic actors to take advantage of all the opportunities of the digital market;

    28.    Calls on the Commission, standardisation bodies and ENISA to develop minimum security and privacy standards and guidelines for IT systems, networks and services, including cloud computing services, in order to better protect EU citizens’ personal data and the integrity of all IT systems; believes that such standards could become the benchmark for new global standards and should be set in an open and democratic process;

    Intellectual property rights and copyright

    29.    Urges the Commission to thoroughly take stock of the existing legislation in the field of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and to come up with a proposal on IPRs which balances the interests of both consumers and right holders; furthermore, calls on the Commission to establish a cross-border EU harmonised and integrated system of copyright which balances the inherent value and appreciation of creative and artistic content with consumer rights; stresses that the creative industries are the most flourishing sector in the EU, providing stimulus for growth and jobs but also supporting innovation in line with the Europe 2020 strategy; recalls that Parliament has established a Working Group on IPR and copyright reform in order to facilitate solutions in this area and to help such a reform be undertaken;

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