Vice President Ansip’s response to our letter

May 11, 2016
Entrepreneurs, Data Act

Dear Ms Blaustein,

Dear Sirs and Mesdames,

Thank you for your email of 4 May 2015 and for your interest in the Digital Single Market as well as your enthusiasm to put Europe at the front end of digital innovation. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying to you.

As you point out, the environment for startups in Europe is better than before, but there are still barriers to their quick development and scaling up across Europe: gaps in access to finance, different regulatory environment to operate companies in different member states, having to adapt to contract and consumer laws when selling across the borders, the necessity to pay VAT in the country of the customer, obstacles to recruit the skills you need everywhere.
The Digital Single Market strategy intends to tackle most of the issues by providing the type of solutions you proposed. The Commission will make proposals covering harmonised EU rules for online purchases of digital content, to allow traders to rely on their national laws based on a focused set of key mandatory EU contractual rights for domestic and cross-border online sales of tangible goods, to reduce the administrative burden on businesses arising from different VAT regimes, or to allow consumers a better access to digital content, by providing a modern, more European copyright framework.
We will also strengthen the access to finance for startups and innovative SMEs, through the Capital Markets Union initiative, and the Horizon 2020 Work Program, but also through the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

I would like to re-assure you as regards your fear of overregulation of new technologies or startups which would increase the burden on entrepreneurs. We share your concern and indeed see the strategy for the DSM as a regulatory reform project that should result in less burden and clearer rules across Europe. In any case, we will carefully test every initiative under the DSM, whether regulatory or not, and launch public consultations and test ideas with the public. I hope we can count on your help and advice in that.

I hope I could reassure you of our will to create a better environment and ecosystem for European startups, to flourish and enable even more unicorns than in the past. We will keep listening to entrepreneurs and innovators to keep Europe innovating.
Yours faithfully,

Andrus Ansip