The benefits that the European digital single market has brought to Spain

The digital economy is gaining more weight in the Gross Domestic Product of a country (in Spain, it is expected to reach 22% in 2020). Therefore, it is not surprising that the European Union has a specific policy to promote the Digital Single Market. Below, we tell you about the benefits of these actions promoted by the Juncker Commission for Spain and the rest of the EU members.

The Digital Single Market is a policy that is part of the European Single Market, focused on sectors such as digital marketing, e-commerce and telecommunications among member countries.

The European Union has always been concerned with breaking down barriers and obstacles between people and countries, but it was not until 2015 that they decided to do the same in the digital field.

The initiative during these years has been progressing at a very good pace, until 2019 with virtually all legislative proposals already agreed, in particular 28 of 30. Among them, are community roaming for complete connectivity of the region or the improvement of digital government (e-Government) to make bureaucratic procedures easier online.

With the aim of creating a digitally connected Europe, many measures were taken. 2,800 municipalities, in their first round, received grants to implement Wi-Fi connection points in public spaces. The second round is currently under development, with many Spanish locations selected.

Thanks to an improvement in the coordination of the mobile spectrum, Europe will be able to launch 5G connections in the near future (although there are still doubts among the large telecommunication corporations about the actions proposed by the EU in this regard), which will allow and enhance services such as connected cars, smart cities or remote medical assistance.

In addition, in 2020, a unique digital portal (Digital Single Gateway) will be created, which will serve as an access point for all online administrative procedures for citizens and businesses.

How has the digital single market benefited Spain?

As we said, most of the procedures proposed by the Juncker Commission have originally been approved, offering great advantages to Spanish citizens. One of the biggest problems when traveling in Europe was the high prices that had to be paid in roaming to be able to use the mobile.

In 2007, the prices of calls exceeded € 0.50 per minute and a GB of data could reach an invoice of € 6,000. By eliminating roaming, Spaniards can travel anywhere in the European Union and pay the same rate as in their country, without worrying about extraordinary expenses. It is estimated that 70% of Europeans have already benefited from this action.

As of April 2018, another barrier was broken and any citizen of the European Union can now access their online subscriptions (movies, sporting events, eBooks, videogames, music…) when they are in another member country.

Another of the latest reforms made by the Juncker Commission that has allowed greater freedom in access and purchase of products and services online are the new laws against unjustified geoblocking, approved in December 2018.

This decision sought to counteract measures that discriminated against consumers according to their country of residence, preventing them from having access to certain products and services (for example, demanding a credit card from a specific country).

Fake news is having a great impact on today’s society. An 83% of European citizens believe that this phenomenon poses a threat to democracy, especially when it occurs during electoral periods. For this reason, the European Union has also committed itself to fight against this problem.

In anticipation of the recent holding of the European elections, members, mobilizing the private sector to that acts also, and increase the conscience and the resilience of the society in front of this phenomenon, drew up an action plan based on four main pillars: improving the detection, analysis and exposure of misinformation, greater cooperation and joint actions.

Finally, another of the procedures that has greatly favored the development of business between Spain and the other countries of the European Union is the promotion of the eIDAS regulation. It is the regulatory framework for electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions.

Thanks to electronic identification, among other solutions offered by eIDAS, any user can demonstrate who is in the virtual world and have access to certain digital services or carry out online transactions, just as companies help them conduct business with other countries more easily. If you want to know more details about all the benefits of the eIDAS regulation, you can access to the post in which we talk in depth about it.

Spain, rising positions in the DESI

Another way to visualize the progress made by Spain thanks to the Digital Single Market is to meet the indices that measure this type of economic phenomena, such as the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

This composite index measures the performance and digital competitiveness of each country through five indicators: connectivity, human capital, use of online services, integration of digital technology and digital public services.

According to the DESI published in 2018, Spain is in the tenth position, above the European Union’s measured score (58 out of 54) and having scaled a couple of places compared to the previous year, one of the biggest progresses in the whole region, following to Ireland.

As the report points out, “Spain has made the most of advances in the use of digital technologies by companies”. It also makes a final recommendation to continue on the right way: “Prioritizing good connectivity and investing in human capital will contribute to fully exploiting the benefits of digital transformation.”

In short, the digital economy is a more than evident reality and the efforts made by the European Union through the Digital Single Market have proven to be very beneficial for all its member countries.