The European Commission has unveiled plans for a “digital single market” which it claims could increase GDP across the EU by £300bn a year through a ‘harmonised market’ for online goods and services.
The plans could mean that video services such as iPlayer will be accessible across all EU territories, expensive mobile data roaming charges are abolished and international parcel deliveries are cheaper.
The deal aims to establish a unified and borderless regulatory framework for the internet across the continent with the intention of becoming the online equivalent of the existing EU single market.
The EC claims that the deal could mean that on-demand TV services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Sky Go are available to everyone, regardless of which EU country they’re in. Currently these services are often “geo-blocked”.
The commission says one of their objectives is that EU residents can enjoy “the same online content and services regardless of the EU country (they) are in”.
The plans were announced by Andrus Ansip, the EU digital single market commissioner and former prime minister of Estonia.
The European Commission estimates that the plans could create up to €340bn (£250bn) in additional growth.
The EC estimates that only 7% of small businesses sell across EU borders and that more choice could save consumers
However, setting out an ambitious digital strategy is likely to run into fierce resistance in some of the 28 EU countries.
Ansip, the former prime minister of Estonia, said: “I want people to buy like at home and companies to sell like at home. We have to hurry up.”
“The aim of the digital single market is to tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one,” said the commission.
Only 15% of online shoppers in the EU buy something in another country, according to commission figures, while only 7% of small and medium-sized businesses sell across national borders.