Europeans having trouble buying something on the Internet, take heart: Brussels is proposing broad-ranging remedies.
Consumer problems online represent missed economic opportunities — only partly to do with illegal downloading. The European Commission has presented a Digital Agenda to create a digital Single Market, with far greater cross-border interoperability.
Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “EU online markets are still separated by barriers which hamper access to pan-European telecoms services, digital services and content. There is a digital single market, yes, but it is an illegal one [when we are] talking about music. Today, there are four times as many [legal] music downloads in the US as in the EU.”
The Digital Agenda is the first flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 growth strategy. As information technology is productivity’s number one driver today, European countries and the private sector would be encouraged to invest more in research.
In 2007, total information technology research spending in the EU was 37 billion euros, compared with the equivalent of 88 billion euros in the US.