Opinion piece by Prof. Dr. Karen Donders & Prof. Pieter Ballon
In September, EU Member States gathered in Tallinn to discuss the future of the European Union as an economic actor in the digital economy. Government leaders discussed the main issues causing Europe to lag behind and explored avenues for change. It has indeed become clear that the policy recipes chosen in 2015 to achieve the European Digital Single Market (DSM) have not fully realized their potential to date.
Television advertising, Smart Cities, better and more efficient broadband networks, data protection and data trading, copyright, research, and innovation, amongst other important issues, were the subject of the talks in Tallinn. Not surprisingly, few concrete measures were put on the table. The pressure on Europe is big as research shows that the US, China and a number of Asian countries are much better positioned than the European Union in the digital economy.
OBSERVED PROBLEMS AND IDENTIFIED SOLUTIONS ARE THE SAME SINCE THE 1990s
European policy in the field of the digital economy takes a real start with the 1994 Bangemann report, named after former European Commissioner Martin Bangemann. The report stated that Europe must catch-up in the globalized information society. In particular, it reported that there was a need for a free