A shortened debate on the Digital Single Market Strategy (DSM) at the EU Council Meeting on June 25/ 26 2015, saw the call for rapid adoption of the Telecommunications Single Market Regulation, the Directive on Network and Information Security, and the Data Protection package. However, other objectives of the DSM may also affect the outsourcing industry.

European Union, UK, June 2015: The European Commission’s adoption of a Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, combined with an inquiry into competition in the e-commerce sector promises to deliver 16 key actions by the end of 2016. These will affect companies, organisations, and individuals in the technology, media, and telecoms sectors, as well as those working in creative businesses that use or intend to use online distribution and/or data sharing technologies. The strategy and any ensuing legislation is likely to impose upon outsourcing companies and organisations that outsource any of their functions.

At the EU Council meeting on 25th and 26th June, it was concluded that the Telecommunications Single Market Regulation, the Directive on Network and Information Security, and the Data Protection package are all objectives that must be rapidly adopted. However, there are other objectives that will be of note to companies that use outsourcing services and those that provide such services.

The DSM will work in three areas (‘pillars’).

The first of these is the goal of creating better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe. Of particular note to outsourcers will be the objectives of:

  • A rulebook which enables easier cross-border e-commerce. This will include legislation on the harmonisation of contracts and consumer protection, and may affect the services provided by outsourcing operations in foreign countries within the EU
  • Reducing the burden on businesses from differing VAT regimes

The second pillar is aimed at creating a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish. While this includes an overhaul of EU telecoms rules, it will also be aimed at:

  • The reinforcement of trust and security in digital services, especially in the areas of handling personal data
  • A partnership with industry in the area of technology and online network security

The third and final pillar is the maximising of the growth potential of the digital economy:

  • Promoting and providing the regulatory infrastructure to enable the free movement of data in the EU
  • Defining the standards critical to the DSM
  • Supporting an inclusive digital society

Speaking at the time of the EU announcement in May, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger said: Our economies and societies are going digital. Future prosperity will depend largely on how well we master this transition. Europe has strengths to build on, but also homework to do, in particular to make sure its industries adapt, and its citizens make full use of the potential of new digital services and goods. We have to prepare for a modern society and will table proposals balancing the interests of consumers and industry.

The Digital Single Market Project Team has been tasked with delivering on all actions by the end of 2016, with the Digital Single Market becoming a reality as soon as possible.

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