US Companies Wary as EU Proposes Single Digital Market
Seeking to play catch up with the United States in the online marketplace and recognizing that the fragmented European online marketplace is a major obstacle to doing so, the EU has announced a series of initiatives designed to create a single digital marketplace.
The Verge explains:
The end goal is to enforce a set of regulations that will not only make life easier for the EU’s 500-million-plus population, but also boost the prospects of European tech companies. It’s also possible that some US companies will be investigated by the EU in the process — but it’s worth remembering that what Americans tend to attack as “protectionism,” Europeans are more likely to call “a level playing field.
The Wall Street Journal is more blunt in its assessment:
Europe’s plans for a single digital market, AKA its plan to compete with Silicon Valley, has at its core a legislative push to regulate and subdue global tech firms’ currently dominating the European digital landscape. The hope is that by curtailing the likes of Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. through anti-trust and data protection laws, Europe can make the space to create its own versions of those Internet giants. But the U.S. tech giants are huge investors in European tech and spawn a lot of the innovation, employment and growth on the continent. “Raising the spectre of protectionism is likely to have a chilling effect on tech investment,” said Mike Weston, CEO of Profusion, a data consultancy firm.
Concerns are also being raised about proposals to require internet platforms to monitor, filter, or police for illegal content that might have a chilling effect on free speech.
As summarized by the EU, the Digital Single Market Strategy includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year It is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximizing the growth potential of the digital economy.