Comment: Putting Europe's Digital Single Market to the test

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has released a report entitled ‘Sector insights: skills and performance challenges in the retail sector’ which highlights the challenges in recruiting technically skilled individuals to increase productivity and keep pace with consumer demands relating to omnichannel shopping.

There’s no doubt the retail landscape is changing, and like many other industries, online is becoming more important than ever. This presents a number of challenges, but there is also a huge opportunity for retailers to tap into the European market of potential customers and employees.

The potential prize is huge. Easy access to the European market will help small emerging UK companies access great ideas and great people to help them grow and compete globally. To take full advantage of the next wave of the digital revolution we need an optimistic and ambitious policy agenda for an open, flexible and dynamic Digital Single Market focused on core objectives of job creation and growth.

Recent estimates show that the right implementation of the Digital Single Market could create 3.8 million jobs across Europe, but if we get it wrong it could have negative consequences for the European economy.

To aid this aim we, alongside leading tech trade bodies in France and Germany, have set out the eight principles that should guide the successful development of the Digital Single Market:

Together, we are calling on policy makers and politicians to apply these principles as they test ideas and develop policy and legislation. The first real test will be the public consultation on contract rules for online purchases of digital content and tangible goods which ends in September.  

The approach to cross boarder eCommerce will give us a good indication of how policy will be delivered and the impact on consumers and businesses across Europe. At techUK, we will be submitting a response to this consultation and watching the resulting discussion closely.

By putting the Digital Single Marketplace at the top of its to do list the European Union has an opportunity not just to be a global digital leader, but to put digital leadership at the heart of its strategy for economic growth and social change and to use digital technologies to address the fundamental long-term social and economic challenges that will determine its future.