Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, is calling for barriers to digital trade to be broken down to help grow Europe’s economy.
The President told a European Council meeting the region is not achieving its potential in terms of tapping the digital economy, despite the potential shot in the arm an open digital market could give to Europe’s GDP.
“[T]he digital market has a huge potential which is not yet used to full extent. The removal of barriers in this market will open more opportunities for both businesses and consumers,” Grybauskaitė said.
Promoting the digital market is one of the top ambitions Lithuania has for its time as holder of the European Union Presidency. Grybauskaitė noted current European initiatives to boost the sector will help, but said key areas must be addressed to realize the full economic potential. These include more investment in innovation and IT personnel, and carefully balanced data protection laws to give consumers the confidence to use online services. Common European laws must blend the need for personal data protection and regulation, and a joint approach to cyber security must also be found, she said.
The prominence of the digital economy in the Council’s summit last week was welcomed by Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSM Association.
Bouverot believes the backing will encourage investment in new networks, including 4G “The European Council has sent a strong signal on the need to promote this investment and to accelerate and complete legislative initiatives in key areas such as data protection, e-identification, payments and reducing obstacles to broadband roll-out.”
However, Bouverot says 4G investments also require clear spectrum policies and more flexibility for spectrum rights holders. “Without a strong and confident industry, consumers will not be well served,” she warns.