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Visit our news page for the latest updates on the Digital Single Market.

Introduction to the Digital Single Market

The original purpose of the European Union was to encourage trade between Member States by removing barriers and encouraging free movement of goods, services and people. One area where barriers are perceived to remain is around digital goods and services. These are now in the sights of the Juncker Presidency, and a central plank of his platform upon taking power in November 2014 was to introduce a “Digital Single Market”.

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission’s (Commission) Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy was announced. The scope of the DSM strategy is ambitious, covering a wide range of areas including cross border e-commerce, preventing unjustified geo-blocking, reform of the copyright, audio visual and communications legal frameworks, competition and VAT. The strategy also set down a tight timeframe for achieving the desired changes.

Legislative proposals

Since the launch of the DSM strategy, a raft of consultations has taken place and there have been a number of major legislative initiatives announced across most of the DSM’s target areas. Proposals around competition and VAT are still pending. View the draft legislation.

What’s next?

It remains to be seen whether the pace of developments continue. Publishing draft legislation can be the easiest part of the EU legislative process and a great deal will depend on how much agreement there is across the Member States on the proposals in terms of how quickly final legislation will be passed.

As to the impact of these proposals on the UK post-Brexit, it will all come down to how the timing of these measures interacts with the Article 50 process and to what extent the terms of exit require the UK to adopt EU legislation as a condition to trading with the remainder of the EU. There are considerable areas of uncertainty in these proposals which will continue to affect UK-based tech and media companies regardless of the terms of Brexit, so it will remain very much in their interests to follow their progress closely and to input into the legislative process as much as possible.

How to find out more

Taylor Wessing will be keeping you up to date with the latest developments, through alerts, articles, seminars and webinars. You can also access our publications and information about progress to date, from this webpage.

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