Ed Vaizey calls for single digital market across the EU


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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has called for new rules to be drawn up, breaking down the barriers to online trade in the European Union. The proposal would mean that nation-specific business deals, such as those governing music copyright, would be thrown out, allowing online companies to launch continent-wide services more easily.

Speaking today, Mr Vaizey said: “We have a single market across Europe’s national borders. The internet does not stop and start at countries’ boundaries yet national borders have been thrown-up for on-line trading.

“A single digital market across the EU is a massive opportunity. It has the potential to be one of the key drivers for growth across the continent and would help create the new jobs we need. That is why we must act now to deliver a digital single market.”

A Department for Culture Media and Sport source indicated today that the proposal would be specifically aimed at helping companies offering music streaming services like music Spotify and Deezer, as well as companies offering other media, to negotiate Europe-wide deals with rights holders, rather than individual deals for each territory. The source admitted, however, that any proposals would need to go to the European Commission before they could be adopted and added: “we are talking about years, rather than months”.

Speaking to the European Commission’s Going Local 2 event, Mr Vaizey said that companies like Spotify have to come to separate rights agreements for each Member State, adding that Spotify is available in just seven EU Member States.

He said the Eu should aim to roll-out broadband and help its citizens get online, as well as implementing a regulatory package that “allows consumers and business to trade online with certainty and with adequate protections” and a “rights management system fit for the digital age”.