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The benefits that the European Digital Single Market has brought to Spain

The digital economy isgaining more and 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 this measure 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, eCommerce and telecommunications between member countries.

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

The initiative has been progressing at a very good pace over the years, reaching 2019 with practically all the legislative proposals already agreed, specifically 28 of 30. Among them are the EU roaming for the 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 implemented. A total of 2,800 municipalities, in its first round, received grants to implement WiFi hotspots in public spaces. The second round is currently underway, with many Spanish localities selected.

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

In addition, by 2020, aDigital 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 measures originally proposed by the Juncker Commission have already been approved, offering great advantages to Spanish citizens. One of the big problems when traveling in Europe was the high roaming charges that had to be paid in order to use cell phones.

In 2007, call prices exceeded €0.50 per minute and a GB of data could run up to a bill of €6,000. By eliminating roaming, Spaniards can travel anywhere in the European Union and pay the same rate as in their own country, without worrying about extra costs. It is estimated that 70% of Europeans have already benefited from this measure.

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

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

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

Fake news is having a major impact on today’s society. 83% of European citizens believe that this phenomenon poses a threat to democracy, even more so when it occurs during election periods. For this reason, the European Union is also committed to combating this problem.

In anticipation of the recent European elections, an action plan was drawn up based on four main pillars: improving the detection, analysis and exposure of disinformation; greater cooperation and joint action by members; mobilizing the private sector to take action; and increasing society’s awareness and resilience in the face of this phenomenon.

Finally, another measure that has greatly favored the development of business between Spain and other European Union countries is the promotion of the eIDAS regulation. This 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 prove who he/she is in the virtual world and have access to certain digital services or carry out online transactions, as well as helping companies to do business with other countries more easily.

Benefits of the European digital single market

Spain, climbing positions in the DESI

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

This composite index measures the digital performance and competitiveness of each country through five indicators:

  • Connectivity.
  • Human capital.
  • Use of online services.
  • Integration of digital technology.
  • Digital public services.

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

As the report points out, “Spain has taken full advantage of the advances in terms of the use of digital technologies by companies”. It also makes a final recommendation to continue on the right track: “Prioritizing good connectivity and investing in human capital will help to reap the full 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.


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