Who: European Commission
When: 16 December 2014
Law stated as at: 19 January 2015
The newly constituted European Commission published its 2015 work programme (“2015 Work Programme”) in mid-December 2014. It is the first programme for newly-elected President Jean Claude Juncker and proposes 23 legislative and non-legislative initiatives over the next 12 months based on Juncker’s 10 priority areas. This demonstrates a marked difference to the previous Commission’s approach. It launched 316 initiatives in the first year of its mandate.
Juncker has proposed a focused work programme. Its main target is the digital single market, where it wants to create the conditions for a ‘vibrant digital economy and society by complementing the telecommunications regulatory environment, modernising copyright rules, simplifying rules for consumers making online and digital purchases, enhancing cyber-security and mainstreaming digitalisation’.
What this means in practice is:
- a final conclusion to the long running efforts to reform EU data protection laws;
- continuing the reform of telecoms rules and the Commissions Connected Continent agenda;
- modifying copyright rules to reflect new technologies;
- simplifying consumer rules for online purchases;
- making it easier for innovators to start their own company; and
- boosting digital skills and learning.
By fulfilling these objectives and creating a digital single market, Juncker believes that the Commission can create €250bn of additional growth, new jobs and a ‘vibrant knowledge-based society’.
In addition to the new initiatives, the Juncker Commission has also evaluated existing legislation (labelled as its REFIT initiative) to ensure that outdated proposals / legislation are withdrawn and support the ‘better regulation’ approach which is at the heart of the 2015 Work Programme.
Why this matters:
The 2015 Work Programme is a finely honed set of initiatives and should give marketers some clarity on the long-talked about data protection reforms and connected continent proposals. Harmonised data protection and cyber-security laws will also facilitate cross-border e-commerce and will be bolstered by simplification of rules for consumer purchases online.
The Commission has also identified copyright reform as a key objective. This is a response to the public consultation on the Review of EU Copyright Rules in July 2014, which was followed by an announcement by Günther Oettinger (Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society) in October 2014 of a comprehensive review of European copyright law.