Digital business is Europe’s best hope to get back to growth

Hearing at the European Parliament of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President designate of the EC, in charge of Digital Single Market. Mr Ansip is trying to listen and understand the translation of the parlamanterian's comments and worries. Hopefully he will make it.

Hearing at the European Parliament of Andrus Ansip, Vice-President designate of the EC, in charge of Digital Single Market. Mr Ansip is trying to listen and understand the translation of the parlamanterian’s comments and worries. Hopefully he will make it. (EC Audiovisual Services, 06/10/2014)

Digital market has received a lot of interest lately in Europe. Not only by the market players that have always lobbied more favourable or less regulation in general, but most importantly by the EU leadership.

New Commissioner, new priorities

Jean Claude Juncker, new President of the European Commission, seems to have ‘bet all his money’ on digital market. In his famous “priorities”, while he sets the return to growth and reduction of unemployment his primordial scope, he underlines that “the key ingredient is to create a digital single market for consumers and businesses-making use of the great opportunities of digital technologies which know no borders. To do so, we will need to have the courage to break down national silos in telecoms regulation, in copyright and data protection legislation, in the management of radio waves and in competition law.” Most importantly he states that “we can generate 500 billion Euro of additional growth in Europe in the course of the mandate of the next Commission, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and a vibrant knowledge-based society. I will work on this from day one of being Commission President”.

If the President of the European Commission, claims as the top priority of his work, the liberalisation of the digital single market, that will bring half a trillion to the EU coffers in five years, this means basically two things: either he is too desperate or he knows very well the digital industry. Indeed digital business full potential is the most unexplored one in the Old Continent and the single market would unleash to a great extent this potential. However, from that point to the promise of generating a 500 billion business and hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is still a distance.

Why digital is our greatest hope

If someone reads all 5 priorities of Mr Juncker and pays attention to the ranking of importance, then she is able to understand more. Having as number 2 priority the “Energy Union”, number 3 TTIP, number 4 the monetary union, and number 5 the “answer to the British question”, one can justify why digital market is the only hope we have in Europe. The reason is ‘fourfold’:

1) The Energy Union is an important but rather ambitious project that most probably needs more than one Commission mandate to materialise.

2) TTIP is a massive trade agreement with the USA that would be completed in 2016/2017 and even though one can imagine a lot of exports and imports and thus business, nobody can really estimate at this point the true impact, positive and negative, it will have in our lives in Europe.

3) Monetary Union is indeed a too important topic always, but let’s face it there is so much written about it during the Barroso Commission and the dawn of the economic crisis that it just isn’t that sexy enough anymore for the EU citizen.

4) As for the “answer to the British question”, that should not be a top priority of any Commissioner. The answer to that question will be given next May in the UK by its citizens and not by Mr Juncker. Already most British businessmen with international horizons have an answer to it and it is a clear NO. In any case, the money the EU is looking for to get out of trouble is definitely not hidden behind the answer to this “question”.

Apparently the only priority that is pragmatic and result oriented is the first one, digital market, and this explains its ranking. That together with the fact that it is ‘trendy’ but also because the single digital market is a topic that the leaving Commissioner Kroes has already prepared the ground for generating substantial debates in the past years mostly with the side of the industry. Earlier this month in one of her last direct confrontations with the telecom sector, she said very openly that telecommunication companies have two options towards the new policy regulations to come: “adapt or die”.

Preparing the ground

Mrs Kroes, has always been supportive of a digital single market in the EU but did not omit to challenge every single time the players of the telecommunication industry on issues like the elimination of roaming charges in the EU or net neutrality. During a Brussels conference organised by ETNO, the powerful lobby group of operators like Deutsche Telekom, she addressed the following messages to telcos: “you can’t have consolidation on national markets without having a single regulatory framework contributing to a genuine single market.” Then she continued: “it’s all very well to talk about deregulation, but not if that’s a code word for keeping protected national markets”. Finally, she concluded  “the telecoms sector is its own worst enemy”, emphasising on how the sector resists strongly the proposed regulations to open up the market.

Seeing this fertile ground for digital business and growth Mr Juncker will have this time two and not one Commissioners replacing Mrs Kroes. Mr Gunther Oettinger, former Energy Commissioner, will be now Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and Mr Andrus Ansip, former prime minister of Estonia, will be in charge of the Digital Internal Market. Obviously two is better than one. Indeed, Commissioner Juncker wanted an extra team of people to deal only with the digital single market per se to speed things up effectively. Time will judge the effectiveness of his strategic decision.

Bend it like Estonia

Apparently the choice of the former prime minister of Estonia was not random. Estonia has the reputation of being a role model of digital transformation and Mr Ansip knows better how this happened. As the ex prime minister said to the ‘Parlamentarians’ during the hearings, : “I had the opportunity to be at the forefront of a digital transformation of a country, which today excels in multiple areas of e-government, safe and secure private and public digital solutions, and which takes cyber security and data protection seriously.”

Further BBC wrote a story last year titled : “How Estonia became E-stonia”. What is more, even the American President Obama, when he visited the country said “I should have contacted the Estonians when we were setting up our healthcare website.” That on its own is quite a statement. Estonia is not only famous for its super-developed e-government and bullet-proof cyber-securityprotection. Instead, it is seen as a start-up nation, because it is one of the top EU countries with the most new businesses per capita (source World Bank).

One last digital chance

All in all, digital is what we trust and count on to make Europe grow to 2020 safe and big. It is the sector of the economy where there is room for a lot of innovation and also less regulation but more competition. It seems that the new Commission is getting ready for it because simply there is no space for delays or failure.

Our best card currently is digital and I am afraid, if we lose it, we lose the game too.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Gender Equality as a platform to improve Medicine

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

“The markets have moved on renewables, policy makers must keep up”, A Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

The G7 adopted dangerous views about Ukraine and Greece

More unemployment and lower wages to make European workers competitive?

Ukraine-EU deal sees the light but there’s no defeat for Russia

EU and African leaders to jointly tackle the migration crisis across the Mediterranean

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

ECB to buy corporate bonds: Will government financing be the next step?

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

The European giant tourism sector in constant growth

A Sting Exclusive: “Our ambition is by 2020 Indonesia to become an emerging power of World’s Maritime Access”, reveals the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Indonesia in Brussels, treating WEF, ASEAN and EU-Indonesia relations on the eve of the World Economic Forum East Asia 2015 in Jakarta

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

Why is Merkel’s Germany so liberal with the refugees? Did the last elections change that?

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

No tears for Cyprus in Brussels and Moscow

Climate change and health: creating global awareness and using earth resources wisely

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

The EU stops being soft with 10 Downing Street about Brexit

Court of Auditors: EU spending infested with errors well above the materiality threshold of 2%

The three sins the EU committed in 2015

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

The European Parliament rewrites the EU budget in a bright day for the Union

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

European Junior Enterprises to address the significant skills mismatch in the EU between school and employment

The Eurogroup offered a cold reception to IMF’s director for Europe

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

From inconvenience to opportunity: the importance of international medical exchanges

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

The EU cuts roaming charges further while the UK weighs Brexit impact

How will EU look after French, Dutch and German Elections and what will be the implications for Youth Entrepreneurship?

IMF’s Lagarde to Peoples of the world: You have to work more for the banks!

Mental Health: starting with myself

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

19th EU-China Summit: A historical advance in the Chino-European rapprochement

EU-India summit: Will the EU manage to sign a free trade agreement with India before Britain?

Environmental labelling, information and management schemes are central to the circular economy

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

IMF: Sorry Greece, Ireland, Portugal we were wrong!

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

European Youth Forum demands immediate action & binding agreement on climate change

Doctors vs. Industry 4.0: who will win?

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

China’s New Normal and Its Relevance to the EU

SPB TV @ MWC14: The TV of the Future

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

Creating shared value: an opportunity and challenge for entrepreneurship

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “We need more Schengen but reinforce control!”, France’s Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron emphasises from Davos

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s