Europe must tear down obstacles to digital single market

20 January 2016

The European Parliament has approved a report about the completion of the digital single market. In the report, a request is made to allow companies to create and trade digital goods, services and information as easily as possible. “With no unnecessary thresholds or additional burdens,” European Parliament Member Anneleen Van Bossuyt clarifies. “Consumers must be able to enjoy their online purchases without problem, no matter where they travel or stay in Europe. Too often they encounter barriers and do not enjoy the same protection as customers in traditional shops.”

Much work remains to be done when it comes to consumer protection. “People who purchase a fridge online today, for example, do not experience the same protection as someone who does so at a traditional shop. If the fridge breaks down, the customer usually has no idea how to make use of the warranty. After all, there is often no clear point of contact. This has to be more transparent.”

Modernising copyright
The Parliament also urges effective modernisation of copyright. “A consumer buying a Netflix subscription must be able to use it throughout the EU. On the other hand, this fair use principle must not damage our own Flemish audio-visual sector. General free access to their productions, without the necessary payments, would jeopardise financing of future projects. The Commission must therefore find a balance between the interests of the consumer and those of the producer,” concludes Anneleen Van Bossuyt.

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