European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip in Bucharest: Achieving digital single market requires 415 bln euro a year

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Andrus Ansip

Achieving the digital single market is a goal in the European Union and the cost of this project amounts to 415 billion euro a year, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip told the Eurosfat 2017 conference on Friday.

20 years ago we had a lot of barriers separating member countries, but today we see that instead of disappearing, some of these barriers have even grown higher. We set ourselves as a goal creating this digital single market, removing these barriers that separate the member countries. Their cost is very high. We conducted an analysis at the European Parliament and creating the digital single market requires 415 billion euro a year, Ansip said.

According to the European official, an advantage of the digital single market is the coming into force on June 15, 2017 of the new EU roaming regulations.

In May last year we cut roaming fees by 75 percent, and by June 15, 2017 they will be scrapped altogether and people will be able to use their mobile devices all over the EU without any extra roaming charges. This is what the digital single market means, said Andrus Ansip.

On the other hand, the EC Vice-President stressed that the European body is working to liberalize the citizens’ access to digital content as well as to online buying of goods and services.

Referring to portability, Andrus Ansip cited statistical data according to which 25 percent of the European citizens spend 10 months a year in another state, and that as with many travel to other member states, they want to have access to legal digital content, but because of certain copywright restrictions they cannot do this. For 20 percent of EU internet users use peer-to-peer access to digital content, and most of them (75 percent) use free download. The authors, however, are not very well remunerated and this is not fair. This is why we need to improve our regulations so we can protect authors against intellectual property theft. To this effect, the European Parliament and the European Commission have decided to facilitate content portability, which will take 9 months, and early next year people traveling to another EU member state will have access to films, TV series, football matches. If they want to buy goods or services from another country, the EU citizens will be free to do so. We see certain discrimination exists, meaning that not everyone has access to certain websites. For example, you may have come across the message “This movie is not available in your country”. Well, we want to solve such issues, Ansip said.

European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip is on an official visit to Romania on Friday, that includes a series of meetings with Romanian officials, the EC Representation to Romania informs.

 

“It’s no solution to ban a service, but to find methods to collect taxes”

 

The European Commission doesn’t want to kill innovation or the innovative platforms and in my opinion it is not a solution to ban a Uber-like service, but rather to find methods to collect taxes from that activity, said on Friday in Bucharest the EC’s Vice President for Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip at the Eurosfat 2017 conference.

One cannot ban a service, methods of taxation should be found instead. In fact, I believe that here is the issue. There must be found methods for the respective taxes be paid easily, online. We are talking of a challenge, about how the taxes and duties could be collected for services such as Uber. I think that solutions could be found. I say it once more: it is important that the taxes could be paid easily. I repeat: in my opinion it is not a solution to ban a service, but rather to find ways to collect the taxes from that activity, Ansip said.

The Confederation of Licensed Romanian Operators and Hauliers (COTAR) and Government representatives on Wednesday signed a protocol providing for the promotion in 30 days at the most of a draft Ordinance to amend the law on taxi transport. Following the signing of the document, the carriers announced that they were dropping the protests planned for Thursday and Friday.

In their turn, the Uber Romania officials announced on Thursday after a meeting with the Romanian authorities that they have received assurances that the amendments to the law on taxi transport will not harm at all the Uber service nor the partner drivers.