State of play on the Digital Single Market
Since the beginning of the mandate, the Commission has put forward 43 initiatives to complete the Digital Single Market, of which 24 legislative proposals. Over the same period, the need to achieve a Digital Single Market was repeatedly discussed amongst ourselves and in 10 different Summits we have agreed to "complete the Digital Single Market."
But we still do not have a Digital Single Market. Only 6 of the Commission legislative proposals have been adopted. The release of spectrum bandwidths by Member States is still done in an uncoordinated way: releases start at different moments for different time periods. As a result, our continent is disparate in terms of 4G coverage. Also, different contract rules for cross-border trade of goods and of digital content are still creating obstacles to the development of e-Commerce across Europe.
Earlier this year in Rome we also pledged to work towards a strong connected single market. It is now time to move from promises to actions.
The good news is that when it comes to completing the Digital Single Market, we are not starting from scratch. We have achieved quite a lot during this mandate.
We have improved connectivity across the EU. We have abolished roaming charges. From next year, free Wi-fi hotspots will be available in public squares, town halls and parks. And Europeans can use their online subscriptions to films or sport events when travelling within the EU. We have also created a single European law to protect personal data. This will protect our citizens across Europe, at the same time guaranteeing the free flow of personal data as of 25 May 2018.
Investments in digital have been boosted by the European Fund for Strategic Investments with for example loan agreements for expanding mobile broadband networks in Greece or France. Digital projects account for around 10% of EFSI investments so far. This percentage could be much higher – I encourage you to raise awareness of these possibilities.
Between now and the end of next year, the focus must be on making all proposals a reality. There are still 18 legislative proposals on the table of the European Parliament and the Council.
And not everything that we have agreed to do in our meetings has been implemented.
Take connectivity: at the Summit in June last year, we all agreed that we need increased coordination in spectrum management so that Europe can become a leader in the roll-out of 5G networks. Our economy needs it, our businesses need it to grow and expand.
However after more than 12 months the discussions are nowhere. There is no agreement in the Council – some of your ministers are blocking. We should not let sectoral administrations contradict what we have decided at European Council meetings.
Or take the digitisation of our Industry: we all agree to prioritise it. The Commission has put together a strategy to mobilise over 50 billion euro in investments to promote the digitisation of products and services and today's meeting is the occasion for Member States to back our plans and demonstrate their ambition to prioritise digitisation of national economies.
Take cybersecurity: cyber-attacks know no borders but our response capacity differs very much from one country to the other, creating loopholes where vulnerabilities attract even more the attacks. The EU needs more robust and effective structures to ensure strong cyber resilience and respond to cyber-attacks. We do not want to be the weakest links in this global threat. That is why the Commission presented on 13 September a package of concrete measures on which I will come back during our afternoon session. Amongst these initiatives, we have proposed the establishment of a stronger EU Cyber Agency as an essential piece for our collective response.
I count on you to use this Digital Summit to commit to concluding all that has been put to the table by 2018. With political will, it is possible to achieve.