Parliament ready to work towards digital Europe

Written by Michał Boni on 24 May 2015 in Opinion

Michał Boni outlines the work parliament must undertake to ensure the swift and proper implementation of the digital single market.

There are three key dimensions to achieving the goals presented in the digital single market (DSM) strategy for Europe.

First, we should find the best merit framework. This means that we are ready in parliament and beyond, not only to discuss general points related to the DSM strategy, but also to fully engage ourselves in work regarding the document. 

It is a good, well-structured and comprehensive strategy with a holistic approach - one that we must maintain. We must also understand all interlinks and interdependences throughout all stages of our work.


Above all, we must focus on the plan's 16 initiatives, and identify any additional goals bearing next year in mind. 

I believe we do not have strong enough support for the development of the internet of things, based on conditions for data processing, which together with the development of a data-driven economy, can lay the groundwork for industry 4.0. 

Improved conditions for data processing should be based on trust and transparent rules on data and privacy protection, as well as clear and open rules on data sharing. Privacy and sharing are essential for the European digital economy.

Second, we need a good political framework. This means a better political climate and more willingness among the member states to engage in integration and harmonisation. It is our duty to avoid the fragmentation of any key components of the digital package, especially for the digital single market, and overcome all barriers.

This applies to all areas - from new copyright solutions, to crucial rules for fair competition, and much braver solutions in the field of spectrum allocation.

The parliament and the commission should speak with one digital voice to reach all member states and allow them, through the council, to unite and make decisions together.

In this context, parliament should consider which path to take for its work. We can proceed as always, allocating responsibilities to the appropriate committees, and working on this 20 page document while trying to maintain a common perspective.

Of course, we will produce a detailed report on the document, and have a real debate on all aspects of the digital package. We aim to be done preferably by late autumn.

Another option would be to start preparatory work in committees, exchange views on certain areas now, and be ready to work hard when the commission presents its concrete proposals relating to the 16 initiatives. 

However, it is important to give the public a strong political signal as soon as possible, that MEPs support change, in the direction of the digital union. This would be useful for the council, and help member states reach an agreement in order to truly make Europe digital - this is crucial for Europe's future competitiveness.

Third, we must consider the proper regulatory and non-regulatory framework for the implementation of the DSM. It needs a new, fresh look and understanding of the regulatory process. In the specific area of competition between technology and legislation, technology has an advantage, as it develops faster than we can change the legislation.

Therefore, we must prepare the best framework to adjust to this, meaning we need solutions that are as flexible as possible. 

We could use strong regulations - regulations and directives harmonised within Europe - when these are clearly needed. 

But we could also use soft law, consisting in guidelines prepared at European level, which is important for the functioning of some fields. We could use and disseminate codes of conduct, which should ensure the same level of implementation of all rules. 

And, we could employ certification schemes for the implementation of standards, which are important for compatibility and ease-of-use on the one hand, and ensure data privacy on the other. 

Having said that, I want to emphasise the need for a legislative framework that can adjust to the rules - as little as possible, as much as really necessary.

Additionally, the rules must be clear so that we can better understand all challenges. We need good network infrastructure - this is a key condition for the development of a digital Europe.

Access to fast internet, allowing data transfer in real time, as well as hybrid solutions for internet at school, is required. 

We need proper infrastructure for educational, business, medical and entertainment purposes, and for industry 4.0.

This is why we must finalise 4G investments and start investing in 5G technology. It is also important to have a high performance network of computing centres, so that we can generate opportunities resulting from analytical data results.

Moreover, we need secure cloud storage and technical and semantic interoperability, in order to ensure real connectivity among business, services, platforms and member states' systems.

All of this is crucial to make the DSM strategy a success without delay.


About the author

Michał Boni (EPP, PL) is a substitute member of parliament's industry, research and energy committee

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