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Whitepaper: EU Digital Single Market Strategy

  • Text
  • Digital
  • European
  • Regulation
  • Content
  • Noerr
  • Consumers
  • Pillar
  • Directive
  • Businesses
  • Parliament
In May 2015, the European Commission released a Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy as a central priority of its agenda at the beginning of its four-year term. The strategy’s objective is to create an open, interconnected and digital single market and to maximize the positive impact of the digital transformation on European society and on business activity in the EU. To this end, the Commission proposed a wide range of measures in order to create a stable legal environment, stimulate innovation, tackle market fragmentation and allow all players to tap into the new market dynamics under fair conditions.

Key initiatives and

Key initiatives and their potential impact Pillar 1: Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services Modern digital contract rules Since the lack of harmonization of national contract laws causes legal uncertainty and results in a fragmented business environment and less competitive offers for consumers, the Commission adopted two proposals to update the e-commerce Directive, with the objective to simplify and promote access to digital content and the online sale of goods across the EU. Both proposals cover business-to-consumer transactions. Status: Package proposed in December 2015; currently being discussed by European Parliament and Council. Improved consumer protection cooperation The Commission proposed a reform of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, since EU-wide enforcement of consumer rights in the digital environment had proven to be slow and ineffective. The proposal’s objective is to strengthen cooperation between national authorities and to empower them to stop widespread online infringements more swiftly (e.g. interim measures to block infringing websites). Status: Proposed in May 2016 and formally adopted on 30 November 2017; Regulation will apply as of 17 January 2020. 51 % of Europeans use the internet for e-commerce activities (2017). Source: Eurostat. Impact: Companies selling digital content and hardware to consumers online will be bound by the new framework. Further, intermediaries are likely to request distribution agreements that reflect these new regulations. Impact: The compliance of companies with consumer protection legislation is subject to increased scrutiny from regulatory authorities with extended powers. 4

Pillar 1: Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services Ban on unjustified geo-blocking In light of the EU’s key objective to achieve a single market without borders, the Commission is eager to prevent unjustified geo-blocking and similar restrictions that discriminate against customers on the basis of their nationality, place of residence or establishment. Examples include blocking access to websites across borders or providing different prices and conditions depending on a customer’s location. In response, the EU adopted a Regulation on addressing geo-blocking. The Regulation defines specific instances when geo-blocking or other geographically-based discriminations are not justified. Furthermore, the proposal bans the use of automatic re-routing without the customer’s prior consent. The Regulation also provides for a non-discrimination rule in payments. Status: Adopted on 28 February 2018; Regulation will start applying as of 3 December 2018; within two years after entry into force, the Commission will carry out a first evaluation of the new rules’ impact. Impact: The Regulation may impair business strategies to tailor offerings to certain Member States by forcing companies to open online-shops cross-border. 63 % of websites did not let shoppers buy from another EU country (2015). Source: EU Commission fact sheet. EU 28 ONLINE RETAILERS OVERALL (2015) 95% allow access to the same website and show the same product 72% allow registration 49% deliver to the shopper‘s country 42% accept shopper‘s method of payment 37% accept shopper‘s payment card details Source: EU Commission fact sheet. 5

Whitepaper: EU Digital Single Market Strategy
Public M&A Report H1/2018
Legal issues of digitalisation in Europe