Executive Summary

AuthorPetropoulos, Georgios; Marcus, J. Scott; Yeung, Timothy
IPOL | Policy Department for Economic, Scie ntific and Quality of Life Policies
8 PE 631.044
This study evaluates the benefits of a Digital Single Market for Europe, and quantifies the
Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy (2015) from an economic perspective. The
DSM Strategy seeks to tackle a wide range of issues related to the digitisation of European society,
but an over-arching theme is the facilitation of cross-border electronic commerce within the EU. It is
broadly in line with long-standing European Parliament initiatives to achieve a “… digital single
market that is essentially about removing national barriers to transactions that take place online.1
We consider first the effects of the legislative measures that comprise the DSM Strategy, and then
discuss their relationship to the overall EU objecti ves of comple tion of the Si ngle Mark et and of the
digitisation of European society.
Benefits of specific DSM S trategy initiatives
It is much too soon to me asure the actual economic benefits of the DSM St rate gy ex post ; however, it
is possibl e to summarise the results that the Commission anticipated. We have identified some € 177
billion in pot ential annual economic gains (in current euro) from full implementation of the
legislative measures enacted or expected to be enacted, correspondi ng to 1.2% of current (2017)
GDP, based on Commission estimates.
Most of thes e anticip ated annual gains can be attrib uted to the Europe an Elec tronic Communicati ons
Code (the EECC) (€ 81 billion), amendments to the Directive on re-use of p ublic s ector inform ation
(PSI) (€ 45 billion), the Single Digital Gateway (assuming it is well implemented and well used)
(€ 20 bi lli on), and the Geo-B lock ing Regul ation ( € 10 billion). The large benefits attributed to the EECC
reflect various spill-overs into the ove rall digiti sation of Europ ean soci ety, enabled by measures tha t
prom ote the deploy ment of fibr e-based fixed br oadband a nd of 5G mobile ser vices. Rough estimates
of the annual be nefi ts achi evab le thanks to eac h legi slat ive measur e (in bi ll ions of current euro once
the measures have taken full effect, and subject t o a range of li mitat ions) are summar ised in Figure 1
and Table 1.
The estimates are, however, highly uncertain for many di ffer ent r easons. They are largely based on
Commission Impact Assessments and other publicly available documents, but the Imp act
Assessments are quite mixed in the information and in the quality of analysis that they provide. We
have made adjustments where we identified problems, but our figures necessarily reflect the
assumptions and any errors in the Commissi on estimates. Furthermore, it is much too early to check
these forecast gains against actual gains. There is also uncertainty as to the counterfactuals in t he
absence of a DSM Strategy at EU level, what initiatives would the Member States have undertaken to
prom ote the digitisation of society at Member State level, and to ameliorate barriers to cross-border
e-commerce? Even where Commission Impact Assessment documents provide seemingly sensible
estimates, the re sults are not cross-comparabl e across diffe rent Im pact Assessments.
Further lim itat ions are note d in Chapt er 1 of the text.
1 Europe an Par liame nt (2018a).

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