Digital – towards an online European single market

Autonomous humanoid robot programmed with Swiss software
Autonomous humanoid robot programmed with Swiss software © FDFA, N. Lobet

The digital revolution reshapes the world around us. This inevitable transformation of our globalized societies requires legislative and political anticipation in order to be able to respond to the upcoming changes.

The digital economy was one of the priorities of Jean-Claude Juncker's Presidency of the European Commission (2014-2019). The aim was to create a digital single market in the EU by bringing together the 28 fragmented national markets in order to foster the economic potential of the Internet. Since the presentation of the 'Digital Single Market Strategy DSM' in May 2015, which aims to eliminate barriers to e-commerce and build infrastructure, the European Commission has formulated a series of proposals among the sixteen measures.

These measures cover the telecommunications sector (recasting of the rules - launch of 5G), the economics of data (rules on the free flow of data and the reuse of public sector data), the strengthening of cybersecurity (European certificate and competence of the European Cybersecurity Agency), the culture sector (audio visual media and copyright), the consumer protection (end of mobile roaming and geographical blocking, online sales contract rules and on the VAT), the protection of fundamental rights (protection of personal data), etc. It should be noted that the legal nature and the binding effects of the proposed measures are different. These are Regulations, Directives, Communications, Decisions, Initiatives, Action Plans and Partnerships.

At the end of the four years, around thirty European legislations and around forty political initiatives have been adopted. As the strategy is not a set of rigid rules, other complementary measures have completed the DSM (Digital Europe Program, Public Data Utilization and Artificial Intelligence).

Switzerland and the digital single market (DSM)

In its 'Digital Switzerland' strategy of 2018, the Federal Council sets the framework by regulating the actions taken by the State and aiming at discovering opportunities of digitalization in order to position Switzerland as an attractive place to live, as well as an innovative and future-oriented economic and scientific hub. Thus, Switzerland has to pursue the dialogue with the European Union and to coordinate the activities on a national level and thus benefitting of the digital single market and avoiding risks of exclusion.