OCR version of leaked EU document on : “A digital single market strategy for Europe”

Yesterday, Politico published this story:

Leaked digital single market’s ‘evidence file’ reveals Commission’s ambitions. Documents show policy came before evidence for cybersecurity measures.
By ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH 20/4/15, 1:29 PM CET Updated 21/4/15, 11:33 AM CET

Leaked copies of the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy and its supporting Evidence file show the European Commission is ready to propose vast regulatory reforms that could affect everything from sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches and big data.. . .

We have a copy of the same document, with Optical Character Recognition, making it a bit easier to search.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee adn the Committee of the Regions, A digital single market strategy for Europe. (PDF copy) 2015 Draft.

Note the use of “evidence still needed here”, or references to unfinished studies.

Below is one example of the policy recommendations:

23.2. Combatting illegal content on the Internet

For content on the Internet the principle, enshrined in the e-Commerce Directive, that Internet intermediary service providers should not be liable for the content that they hold and transmit passively, i.e. provided they do not alter it or take ownership of It, has underpinned the development of the Internet in Europe. At the same time there is ah a need to ensure that when illegal content is identified, intermediaries take effective action to remove it, whether it be information that is against the public interest (e.g. terrorism/child pornography) or information that infringes the properly rights of others (e,g. copyright). This obligation to assist is enshrined in the e-Commerce directive. Today the removal of illegal content can be slow and complicated while content that is actually legal can be taken down erroneously. There is also a lack of transparency in the process. Differences in national practices can impede enforcement (with a detrimental effect on the fight against online crime) and undermine confidence in the online world. As the amount of digital content available on the Internet grows, current arrangements are likely to be increasingly tested. It is also not always easy to define the limits on what intermediaries can do with the content they host without losing the immunity conferred on them by the e-Commerce Directive.

  • 52.% of all consulted stakeholders agreed that action against illegal content is often ineffective;
  • 64.7% agreed that hosting service providers often take against legal content;
  • 57.9% agreed that there is too much legal fragmentation and uncertainty for hosting service providers and notice providers.

Recent events have added to the public debate on whether to enhance the overall level of protection from harmful material by requiring more rigorous, harmonised procedures for removing illegal content or whether to require intermediaries to exercise greater responsibility and due diligence in the way they manage their networks and systems.

The Commission aims to identify the right balance to strike between responsibility for combatting the propagation of illegal content and the need to protect freedom of expression.

The Commission will further prepare proposals to tackle illegal content on the Internet and a common approach to the issue of duty of care. Alternatives include legislative proposals to harmonize the procedures for removing illegal content across the EU or establishing additional responsibilities on online companies to monitor and verify the resilience of their systems against illegal content.

The following is the conclusion, and the roadmap.

Excerpt from “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe”


Successful implementation depends on the political commitment of all actors concerned, including EU institutions, Member States and other stakeholders, including at regional and local level, in line with the principles of subsidiarity, proportionality, and better regulation.

The EU must be able to react to unexpected events, seize new opportunities, and anticipate and adapt to future trends. Whenever necessary, the Commission will use its right of initiative to set out an appropriate response to events.

The Commission invites the European Parliament and Council to endorse this strategy to complete the Digital Single Market and to actively engage in its implementation, in close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders.



Annex: Roadmap for completing the Digital Single Market


Better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe

Propose simple and effective cross-border contract rules for consumers and businesses (2015)

Review the Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation and develop more efficient cooperation mechanisms (2015)

Launch an initiative in the area of parcel delivery with a focus on improving price transparency, enhanced regulatory oversight (2015)

Launch a wide ranging review and a Competition Sector Inquiry to tackle discrimination against the consumer based on residence (2015)

Propose a reform of the copyright regime (Autumn 2015)

Review the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (2016)

Propose legislation to reduce the administrative burden on businesses arising from different VAT regimes (2015)

Creating the right conditions for digital networks and services to flourish

Propose a reform of the current telecoms rules (2016)

Carry out a comprehensive analysis of the role of platforms in the market (2016)

Launch initiative leading to possible proposal for combatting illegal content on the Internet (2016)

Review the e-privacy Directive (2016)

Propose the establishment of a Cyber Security contractual Public-Private Partnership (2015)

Maximizing Growth Potential of the Digital Economy

Launch a number of initiatives, including on data ownership, free flow of data/portability, e.g. between cloud providers, and interoperability (2015)

Launch a European Research Cloud (2015)

Adopt a priority ICT Standards Plan (2015)

EU initiative of Skills for Employability and Competitiveness (Enhance the recognition of digital skills and qualifications and increase the level of ICT professionalism in Europe) (2015)

Make the European Interoperability Framework mandatory for public services (2016)

Launch an initiative with the engagement of Member States for demonstrating and piloting the ‘Once-only’ principle for businesses via a large scale pilot project and entrepreneur take-up actions under Horizon 2020 (2016)

Accelerate Member States’ transition towards full electronic procurement (2016)

Launch an initiative to make mandatory interconnection of business registers a reality by 2017 (2016)