The digital revolution, which is reshaping the global economy and societies, offers numerous opportunities, but also poses many challenges, thereby putting governments in a dilemma on how to shape it. While empowering individuals in many ways and spurring impressive inventions, it poses threats of cyber-attacks and privacy abuse. It also raises concern about the future of the labour and social security markets.
A delegation of S&D MEPs travelled to the United States this week to meet leading digital and hi-tech players in Silicon Valley, and to discuss how best to meet the challenges and opportunities of the new digital environment.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €27 million financing agreement with software company M-Files from Tampere, Finland. The loan was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, which was launched by the EIB Group and the European Commission to boost the competitiveness of the European economy. This operation is the EIB’s largest commitment in the Finnish IT sector for years. With these funds, the rapidly growing company aims to revolutionise the way organisations manage and use information, making it more intelligent, intuitive and compliant.
S&Ds welcomed today the decision of the European Commission to impose a €4.3 billion penalty on Google for abusing its dominant position in the Android operating system for mobile phones.
The European Commission has fined Google €4.34 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.
The Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services on 26 May 2018. Providers of online intermediation services (e.g. Amazon and eBay) and online search engines (e.g. Google search) are required to implement a set of measures to ensure transparency and fairness in the contractual relations they have with online businesses (e.g. online retailers, hotels and restaurants businesses, app stores) which use such online platforms to sell and provide their services to customers in the EU. The proposal is still at an early stage in consideration in the European Parliament, where it has been assigned to the IMCO committee.
There is a consensus that the digital economy is relatively undertaxed when compared with traditional businesses. Certain inherent characteristics such as reliance on cross-border provision of services without physical presence, easy transfers of intangible assets, and novel ways to create value make it particularly easy for enterprises to limit their tax liabilities. In order to provide a solution to this problem, in March 2018 the Commission adopted the ‘fair taxation of the digital economy’ package, comprised of two proposals. One concerns a permanent reform of corporate tax regime while the second is a proposal for a directive on the common system of a digital services tax on revenues resulting from the provision of certain digital services, which would apply as an interim measure until the permanent reform has been implemented. The tax is to cover businesses above two thresholds: total annual worldwide revenues exceeding €750 million and annual revenues in the EU exceeding €50 million. The proposed single rate is at 3 %, levied on gross revenues resulting from the provision of certain digital services where user value creation is essential. The stakeholders and the Member States seem to be divided on the issue.
Action focused on the referral of jihadist terrorist content on Google-related platforms
The European Commission and EU consumer authorities are calling on Airbnb to align their terms and conditions with EU consumer rules and be transparent on their presentation of prices.