On 23 June 2014, Herman van Rompuy and David Cameron discussed the EU’s strategic agenda of key priorities until 2020. This agenda is generally kept secret until official consensus has been reached among European leaders during the Council Summit of 26 June, but the document has been leaked and its general strategy is briefly outlined below. Most notably, completion of the digital single market is on top of the agenda.
Considering that the EU is slowing coming out from the economic crisis, further steps must be taken in the direction of a structural reform able to foster growth, competitiveness and jobs. More specifically, to achieve lasting success, EU leaders have identified that there is a need to:
- promote a favourable investment environment, in particular for SMEs, and promote a strong and competitive industrial base;
- address the huge investment needs in transport, energy and telecom infrastructure networks of EU significance, by mobilising the right mix of private and public funding;
- tap the full potential of the single market, further develop the digital economy and complete the digital single market;
- further develop the Compact for Growth and Jobs as one of the EU’s major tools to relaunch growth, investment and employment;
- cut unnecessary administrative burdens and further improve the quality of the EU decisions making process, including through the REFIT programme and impact assessments;
- improve the functioning of labour markets, including by shifting taxes away from labour;
- ensure the necessary investments in R&D, new technologies and innovations under the Europe 2020 strategy;
- complete negotiations on international trade agreements, including TTIP, by 2015;
According to the European leaders, strong economic and structural reforms should go together with more efficient social policies. An increasing number of EU citizens are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, many young EU citizens do not have a job, and inequalities between and within Member States has risen. The EU should act to empower its citizens and unlock their talents.
Another objective of the EU is to build an area of freedom, security and justice with full respect for fundamental rights. To achieve this goal, coherent policy measures are necessary with respect to border controls, immigration, police and judicial cooperation. All these dimensions are interlinked. The EU should thus set up an efficient migration and asylum policy, based on solidarity and responsibility, but it also has to tackle the primary causes of irregular migration flows by intensifying cooperation with third countries.
Ecommerce Europe fully underlines completing the Digital Single Market as a European policy priority for the coming years. Removing barriers in the digital economy could deliver Europe an extra € 520 billion per year, or 4.0% of its current GDP. Ecommerce Europe is committed in working together with stakeholders to realize this potential by remaining in constant dialogue and providing concrete examples of barriers in the e-commerce sector. Moreover, it provides recommendations for stakeholder collaboration to come to a fully functioning Digital Single Market. Please find these recommendations outlined in our position papers here: ecommerce-europe.eu/position-papers