Neelie Kroes: Next Commission President should be a Digital President


Barely two weeks after the opening reception of Ecommerce Europe, Commissioner Kroes of the Digital Agenda echoed the words of Robert Madelin, Director General at DG CONNECT. In a speech at the TK Gipfel in Düsseldorf (Germany), she stated: “The next President of the Commission must be a Digital President.”

This quote was part of her speech, in which she advocated a bigger emphasis on the digital aspect of the European economy. She argued that investing in going digital affects the entire European economy, not just digital sectors: “It means connected cars. And connected devices, in the Internet of Things. It means factories of the future, able to customize and perform. Smart grids for the energy network. It means companies from finance to retail using big data. A new way to treat and deliver healthcare. It means a boost for every kind of company, of every size, in every sector. All of them. It means smaller businesses, better flexible cloud services. A helping hand for the Mittelstand. In short, this matters for the whole economy.”

This statement completely concurs with the views of Ecommerce Europe who, prior to the European Parliamentary elections, has proposed a one-stop-shop approach to the digital economy. It has issued a priority paper that departs from similar assumptions that Commissioner Kroes adopts. In order for an economy to go digital, an integrated approach is needed from the European institutions. Currently, the policy areas that affect the economy from going more digital are dispersed, resulting in different approaches. In the best case, it means that there are duplicate policy proposals that work parallel. In the worst case, they work against each other, leading to serious obstructions for the ambition to have economic growth based on digitalization.

Ecommerce Europe’s integrated approach proposes a single approach to all matters that relate to the digital economy: internet security and data protection, consumer rights, payments, tax and e-logistics.