Zagreb - The European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, said in the Croatian Parliament on Tuesday that the digital single market was very important for Europe's future.
Ansip met with members of the Committee on European Affairs, the Committee on the Economy, the Committee on Information, Computerisation and Media to inform them about the current status and future plans for the development of the digital single market.
Ansip said that the digital single market was very important for the European future. Currently we have 28 small fragmented markets, and unless we achieve a single market, we will face economic damage in competition with large countries such as the United States, China or Japan, as well as emigration of young people and startups to more advanced countries outside Europe, he added.
He noted that it was almost impossible for small and medium businesses and startups to understand 28 different legislations, and that such an economic environment was too expensive for them.
The chairman of the Committee on European Affairs, Domagoj Ivan Milošević, said that Croatia supported the digital single market with the aim of increasing the level of competitiveness and achieving economic goals.
As the implementation of the strategy for the digital single market enters the final phase, the European Commission has presented proposals for nearly all initiatives and the focus right now is on achieving a political agreement with the European Parliament and the Council on key initiatives such as the reform of the copyright protection framework and the telecommunications and audiovisual media content packages.
Of 24 legislative proposals, the European Parliament and the Council adopted only eight of them. The Commission underscored political responsibility to finalise the legislative proposals until the end of 2018, identifying three main areas that required further action on the EU level: building a European data economy, tackling cyber security challenges and regulating online platforms.
During his meeting with Croatian lawmakers, Ansip asked for their support for these proposals.
Ansip also spoke of the issue of telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity. Croatia ranks at the bottom of the DESI 2017 index on connectivity and is considerably below the EU average on advanced network coverage, coverage in rural areas and 4G coverage, so it needs measures to encourage investment in advanced networks, it was said during the meeting.
The meeting underlined the need to remove regulatory barriers and it also discussed high-performance computing, which Ansip said all member states should support. In mid-January the Commission unveiled a plan for investing in European supercomputing infrastructure as the driver of the digital economy, and the aim of the EuroHPC initiative is to provide European researchers and companies with supercomputers by 2020.