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EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

George Miller

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EU Leaders' meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market
Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for Digital Single Market. Photo Credits: EC Audiovisual Services
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Brussels, 15 May 2018 – Ten days ahead of the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission is today presenting a set of concrete actions that European leaders can take to protect citizens’ privacy and make the EU’s Digital Single Market a reality before the end of 2018.

The Communication presented today is the Commission’s contribution to the informal discussions that EU leaders will hold in Sofia tomorrow.

The Commission believes that it is in the shared interest of all Member States to manage the digital transformation by following the European approach, which links investment in digital innovation with strong data protection rules. This will allow the EU to effectively deal with the challenges of an increasingly data-based global economy.

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: Data is at the heart of our economy and society. It needs to flow freely, to be safe and secure. The European Commission has put forward all the proposals for a Digital Single Market; it is now EU leaders who have the keys to unlock digital opportunities. This new regulatory environment should go hand in hand with major investments in areas such as cybersecurity, 5G, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.”

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: “The recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica revelations confirm once more that the EU made the right choice to put in place strong data protection rules. Data harvesting with the aim of manipulating public opinion is unacceptable. We are proud to be setting the new global standard for the protection of personal data. This is fundamental for consumer trust in an increasingly digital economy and society.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “Having the right regulatory framework in place is crucial to create trust and develop businesses online. Together with the General Data Protection Regulation, the ePrivacy Regulation will secure our citizens’ electronic communications. In Sofia, EU leaders will have a unique occasion to give decisive incentives on the remaining key digital proposals still in negotiations.”

Three years after adopting the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Digital Single Market has progressed, with 12 legislative proposals agreed by the European Parliament and Council out of the 29 tabled by the Commission since May 2015. Major new laws on data protection, cybersecurity, and the end of mobile roaming charges are either already in place or will be in a matter of days or weeks. Member States must now ensure these agreed rules work in practice.

Strengthening the protection of personal data in the EU

General Data Protection Regulation: Two-thirds of Europeans say that they are worried about having no control over the information they provide online, while half are concerned about falling victim to fraud. The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised awareness that data could be misused if not properly protected.

Through the General Data Protection Regulation citizens will be able to benefit from stronger protection of personal data through:

  • better control over how personal data is handled by companies and public administrations alike, including the need for users’ clear consent for processing their personal data;
  • more clarity about the privacy policies of companies;
  • swift notification of harmful data breaches without delay.

Next steps: The Commission is inviting EU leaders to ensure that national authorities urgently put in place all the remaining steps necessary to prepare for the application of the new rules in all Members States.

ePrivacy Regulation: Alongside the General Data Protection Regulation, the ePrivacy Regulation proposed in January 2017, currently under negotiation in the European Parliament and the Council, is essential so that the confidentiality of Europeans’ online communication is not breached. The new rules will apply both to traditional telecoms operators and online services, such as emails, instant messaging or online voice services. This means that without users’ consent, no service provider would be able access the devices they use.

Next steps: The Commission is urging the Council to swiftly agree on its negotiation position on the ePrivacy Regulation, so that negotiations with the European Parliament can start by June 2018, with a view to the adoption by the end of 2018.

Necessary steps to complete a functional Digital Single Market

Since the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy in May 2015, the Commission has delivered proposals for all 29 initiatives identified as essential for a functional Digital Single Market. The benefits are already being enjoyed by citizens, for instance through a four-fold increase in data use when travelling to other Member States thanks to the abolition of roaming charges. Altogether the Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

In particular, the Commission is inviting EU leaders to discuss and give their strategic orientation with a view to:

  • Mobilising the necessary public and private investments to deploy artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity networks, high-performance computing.
  • Ensuring that the Regulation on free flow of non-personal data, designed to further develop the European data economy, is agreed by co-legislators by June 2018.
  • Similarly, the Electronic Communications Code, aiming at boosting investment in high-speed and high-quality networks across the EU, should also be finalised by June 2018.
  • Helping Member States equip Europeans with the digital skills they will need in today’s and tomorrow’s digital economy and society.

More generally, all other pending Digital Single Market proposals should be agreed by the end of 2018, in line with the call of the European Council of October 2017. These include, for instance, the modernisation of EU copyright rules to protect creators online better and facilitate the access to European works across borders.

Background

The EU has already put an end to mobile roaming charges in the EU and allowed Europeans to travel across the EU with their online subscriptions for films, TV series, video games, music, sport programmes or ebooks.

Since 9 May 2018, Member States have to apply the first EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity – the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive) – which will be completed by a wide-ranging set of measures for stronger cybersecurity in the EU. This includes a proposal for an EU Cybersecurity Agency to assist Member States in dealing with cyber-attacks, as well as a new European certification scheme that will ensure that products and services in the digital world are safe to use. As of December 2018, thanks to new rules against unjustified geoblocking, consumers will no longer face barriers when buying products or services online within the EU. For businesses, this means more legal certainty to operate cross-border.

In April 2018, the Commission delivered all the remaining Digital Single Market actions and notably presented a European approach for the future of artificial intelligence, measures to tackle disinformation online, including an EU-wide Code of Practice on disinformation, as well as conditions for fairness and transparency in the online platforms economy designed to lead to an innovation-friendly environment for EU businesses.

In parallel, the General Data Protection Regulation was adopted in December 2015 with a two-year transition period to allow Member States and their authorities to be fully ready when it enters into application on 25 May 2018. In January 2018, the Commission also published guidelines to facilitate the application of the new data protection rules across the EU.

For More Information

Factsheet: Digital Single Market for all Europeans
Communication on Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for all

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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European Commission Press Releases

European Commission Criticises Third German State Treaty on Gambling

Niji Narayan

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European Commission Criticises Third German State Treaty on Gambling
Photo Source: aljazeera.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The European Commission has criticised the latest incarnation of Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling.

After the proposed legislation was submitted to the Commission in May, general director Lowri Evans has submitted a response which casts doubt on the effectiveness of the planned framework.

Evans criticised the short-term nature of the third amended State Treaty on Gambling. Evans questioned the logic of implementing the Treaty for such a short period from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.

In order to secure a licence, operators will be required to shut down any online casino offerings and offer sports betting without in-play wagering. Players will be restricted to spending €1000 per month, with a 5% turnover tax levied on licensees. These restrictions and fees are expected to slash operators’ revenue should they be fully enforced.

Evans noted that the controls to be implemented could make the market particularly unattractive for operators. With the processing of licence applications to begin from 2 January, the first working day of 2020, licences could be valid for less than 18 months.

Evans casts doubt on whether goals of the Treaty, such as increasing player protection and driving unlicensed operators from the market, could be achieved in an 18-month period. Evans also queried when the effectiveness of the Treaty would be assessed, something pledged when it was first introduced in 2012.

“The Commission emphasises the need for a continuous evaluation of the implementation and application of the State Treaty, in particular (but not limited to) sports betting. The German authorities have already committed in 2012 […] to an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the provisions relating to sports betting. Unfortunately, in view of the previous non-award of sports betting licenses, no such evaluation has yet been carried out. Therefore, the German authorities are invited to [explain] how and when an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the sports betting provisions will take place,” Evans stated.

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Compliance Updates

Europe that Protects: Stronger rules criminalising money laundering enter into force

Zoltan Tundik

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Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Europe for Citizens - Meeting of the Civil Dialogue - Date: 28/11/2018 Reference: P-038870/00-05 Location: Brussels - EC/Centre A. Borschette © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Benas Gerdziunas
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Today, the new measures to counter money laundering by criminal law enter into force across the EU. The new rules will ensure that dangerous criminals and terrorists face equally severe penalties for money laundering wherever they are in the EU, with a minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “If we want to catch criminals and terrorists, we have to follow the money. Today, we are beefing up the EU’s response to money laundering, making sure that criminals and terrorists no longer get away with illegally gained money and face deserved justice. A Europe that protects is a Europe that effectively prevents and prosecutes criminals.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “Money laundering is a key tool used by terrorists and serious criminals to obtain funding – by harmonising the crime and the punishment across the EU, we can further close down the space in which they operate. Member States now need to implement the new rules without delay.”

The Commission proposed to harmonise offences and sanctions for money laundering across the EU in December 2017. While all Member States currently criminalise money laundering the definitions of this crime as well as the penalties related to it differ across the EU, allowing criminals to effectively “window shop” and exploit the differences between national legislation.

With the new rules in force that will be no longer possible. Member States now have 24 months to implement the new rules into national law and notify the Commission accordingly.

The recent changes and all AML related topics will be highlighted during Prague Gaming Summit by the attending experts of the gambling industry in a special panel discussion. You can find more details on the following page.

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European Commission Press Releases

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data

George Miller

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EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Photo Credits: EPA/BGNES
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brussels, 19 June 2018 – Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data

The European Parliament, Council and the European Commission tonight reached a political agreement on new rules that will allow data to be stored and processed everywhere in the EU without unjustified restrictions. The new rules will also support the creation of a competitive data economy within the Digital Single Market.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said:”Data localisation restrictions are signs of protectionism for which there is no place in a single market. After free movement of people, goods, services and capital, we have made the next step with this agreement for a free flow of non-personal data to drive technological innovations and new business models and create a European data space for all types of data.

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “Data is the backbone of today’s digital economy and this proposal will help to build a common European data space. The European data economy can become a powerful driver for growth, create new jobs and open up new business models and innovation opportunities. With this agreement we are one step closer to completing the Digital Single Market by the end of 2018.”

The new rules will remove barriers hindering the free flow of data, and boost Europe’s economy by generating an estimated growth of up to 4% GDP by 2020.

The new free flow of non-personal data rules will:

  • Ensure the free flow of data across borders: The new rules set a framework for data storing and processing across the EU, prohibiting data localisation restrictions. Member States will have to communicate to the Commission any remaining or planned data localisation restrictions to the Commission in limited specific situations of public sector data processing. The Regulation on free flow of non-personal data has no impact on the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as it does not cover personal data. However, the two Regulations will function together to enable the free flow of any data – personal and non-personal – thus creating a single European space for data. In the case of a mixed dataset, the GDPR provision guaranteeing free flow of personal data will apply to the personal data part of the set, and the free flow of non-personal data principle will apply to the non-personal part.
  • Ensure data availability for regulatory control: Public authorities will be able to access data for scrutiny and supervisory control wherever it is stored or processed in the EU. Member States may sanction users that do not provide access to data stored in another Member State.
  • Encourage creation of codes of conduct for cloud services to facilitate switching between cloud service providers under clear deadlines. This will make the market for cloud services more flexible and the data services in the EU more affordable.

The agreed measures are in line with existing rules for the free movement and portability of personal data in the EU.

 

Background

The Commission presented a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in September 2017 as a part of President Jean-Claude Juncker‘s State of the Union address to unlock the full potential of the European Data Economy. It was announced as one of the key actions in the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market strategy.

 

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