The EU Commission is seeking to equalize access and prices of products and services in the 28-country bloc, foster startups and boost the sharing economy, according to the internal market strategy released last week in Brussels.
The EU’s proposals include harmonizing value added taxes, making bankruptcy less problematic and helping startups expand across borders. The measures will be launched from 2016 to 2018.
“If we are to restore citizens’ trust in the European project, create jobs and build a competitive economy, and retain an influence in the world, we must unleash the full potential of the single market,” Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises, told Politico. “Europe has no time to waste to respond to its competitiveness challenges.”
EU countries have a mixed record when it comes to startups that disrupt industries, like Uber and Airbnb. Yet the Commission is throwing its weight behind the so-called collaborative economy. As part of the strategy, it will develop an agenda for the sector and aims to simplify rules that hinder the growth of startups. “The single market must keep up with the times,” said Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness. “Innovative business models must be encouraged and welcomed into the single market.”
At the same time the EU Commission is also running a research project into the proper regulation of electronic platforms (including taxi-apps), expected to be ready Spring 2016. Asked by Spain, the EU Court of Justice is presently looking into the legality of the UberPOP ban in Spain.
- European Commissioner for the Interior Market and Industry Elzbieta Bienkowska pushes for (electronic) business without borders.