How the EU can deliver growth in the digital age

Being 'digital' is critical for businesses and consumers today

The digital economy has changed the way we live our lives and the relationship between consumers and products, services and content. From the way we shop, through to the way we make bank transfers, digital services are a key part of everyday life, revolutionising the ways in which businesses deliver products and services to their customers.

As such, the 'digital economy' is no longer terminology reserved for 'tech' industries, but is synonymous with the broader economy; every sector is a technology sector in some respect. Be it traditional dairy farmers and construction companies or new and innovative start-ups, businesses are more reliant than ever before upon digital technology and faster connectivity to streamline their operations, reach more customers and enter new markets.

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Digital technology can unlock growth, job creation and business innovation

In an age where technology can make all businesses global, being 'digital' has the potential to unlock a broad range of economic benefits for a rapidly growing online consumer base, creating job opportunities for those with digital know-how and supporting our innovative and high-growth industries.

However, digital innovation is out-pacing policy and regulation

The rate of change and digital advancement in day to day life is faster than any legislative process, and new laws can become quickly outdated. Europe needs a coherent and future-proof package of dossiers relating to the digital economy that seeks to update regulation according to high level and outcome based principles that do not risk being immediately obsolete.

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A digital single market must work toward one goal: more buying and selling online across borders, so that businesses can grow, create jobs and reinvest in products and services for customers

We need to act now to make it easier for everybody to thrive online

These dossiers should create a framework to support a constantly evolving digital single market and, to deliver for EU citizens and businesses, they must each work toward one goal: the facilitation of more trading online across borders so that businesses can grow, create jobs and reinvest in services and products for the individual. To achieve this, small businesses and start-ups in particular will need help to more easily enter new markets in order to scale-up, whilst giving citizens and consumers the exciting content and services they have come to demand - delivered directly to their mobile, tablet or computer - wherever they are in the Union.

Technology doesn't wait, and as other markets begin to catch up, and in some cases overtake Europe, we cannot afford to stand still. The Commission must identify the right environment and outcomes it is seeking to unlock for its citizens and businesses, and design proposals to tackle the barriers that exist to a functioning digital single market before it is too late.

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