Greetings from Brussels!
Key this week was the emergence of the POLITICO Europe Edition service. For those of you who were familiar with the European Voice weekly paper and online service as a source of regulatory information emanating from Brussels, well, it is no longer, having been acquired by POLITICO, the Washington, DC-based media outlet.
I read somewhere they mean to rival major European media outlets such as the London-based Financial Times; what is certain is that a significant investment has been made: 10 million euros is not small change in the current global media environment.
This Monday saw the launch of the “new look” POLITICO Europe, and they started with a bang of sorts, having obtained a leaked draft copy of a European Commission Communication on “the Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe” and supporting documentation. The full article as well as relevant downloads can be found here. If you do not have the time to read through the documents, know that the content suggests that the European Commission intends to propose far-reaching reforms that could affect everything from “sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches, big data and cloud storage.”
To cite some initiatives, geo-blocking of websites would have to be loosened under the commission’s proposals, in exchange for a more aggressive enforcement of copyright. Open data is now also on the table, via a “free flow of data initiative” that would overturn member states’ restrictions on data storage. In addition, the commission is hoping to create a “European cloud” to enable cross-continent research.
The roadmap timetable for achieving the Digital Single Market is very ambitious, with numerous initiatives to be proposed over a three-year period, and there is a stated belief that completing the Digital Single Market and doing away with existing digital barriers could create over 3.5 million jobs and contribute an additional 340 billion euros to the European GDP.
The ambition is impressive, to say the least, and Commissioner for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, the champion of the strategy, certainly has his work cut out as member states will be asked to make sweeping reforms in order to implement it.
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