EU Digital Single Market and Digital Economy Unit
The role of the Digital Single Market Unit and Digital Economy Unit in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) is to:
- Ensure a whole of government approach and cross government coordination of the DSM agenda;
- lead the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Digital Single Market, which is Chaired by the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Mr Pat Breen TD;
- play a leading role in the development of the new National Digital Strategy by furthering proposals on how to develop the optimal digital ecosystem for SMEs and increasing Ireland’s digital competitiveness;
- develop stronger networks with other likeminded Member States, particularly the Digital 9+ countries (D9+). The D9+ is a Capitals-based loose affiliation of like-minded Member States on Single Market issues, comprising the nine top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), plus two other countries who share similar ambitions for the Digital Single Market. The countries involved are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Estonia, who are joined in the group by the Czech Republic and Poland;
- support joint initiatives by the Taoiseach and relevant Ministers;
- liaise closely with the Minister of State with responsibility for e-Government;
- strengthen engagement with the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Irish stakeholders; and
- provide regular progress reports to the Cabinet Committee on European Affairs and other Cabinet Committees, as appropriate.
Inter-Departmental Committee on the DSM
The key focus of the IDC is on ensuring effective whole-of-Government engagement with the EU DSM Strategy, particularly in terms of developing a coherent and coordinated approach to matters that cut across the responsibilities of individual Ministers, Departments and European Council formations. Relevant Ministers and Departments will continue to lead on the key files in their respective areas of responsibility. However, there is also acknowledgement that many of the files have cross-cutting implications.
The IDC on DSM includes representatives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and the following other Government Departments / Offices:
Representatives from the Departments concerned update Minister Breen on the latest developments relating to ongoing work on the digital agenda every two months.
National Digital Strategy
The Action Plan for Jobs 2018 commits to the completion of a framework for the development of a new National Digital Strategy (NDS) to provide a coherent view across sectoral policies to position Ireland to maximise economic and societal benefits from digitalisation and to ensure that all are in a position to enjoy those benefits. The effects of the digital transformation are expected to be far reaching and it will be important to ensure that no section of society gets left behind.
The scope of the NDS will be a high-level document providing an overarching long-term vision of the impacts of digitalisation on Ireland. It will take into account the many policy initiatives already in place or under development, to provide a structure and set of principles to give shape to Ireland’s digital transformation. It will map the connections between digital strategies, identify where there are policy gaps, which might lead to the creation of digital divides within society, and ensure that these are filled. Several Government Departments, led by the Department of the Taoiseach, are involved in the development of this Strategy. These Departments have undertaken initial consultations with stakeholders, in order to develop the framework for the NDS which has now been accepted by Government. Further public consultation will take place to inform the content of the Strategy itself.
The ongoing initiatives relevant to the NDS include work on the digital transformation of business with a focus on SMEs; development of a Manufacturing 4.0 strategy; and a study on Digital Skills.
Proposals for Platforms to Business (P2B)
The proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services [COM (2018) 238 final] aims to establish a fair, trusted and innovation-driven ecosystem in the online platform economy in the EU and contribute to a strengthened, better-functioning Digital Single Market in terms of innovation, competitiveness, growth and jobs. Granting businesses more predictability in their relationships with platforms, as well as giving access to effective means to address problems, will encourage their use of online platforms as a means to grow their business. Clearer rules at EU level should provide platforms with a predictable regulatory environment and enable them to scale-up in a less fragmented Single Market.
The scope of the Regulation covers online platform intermediaries and general online search engines that provide their services to businesses established in the EU and that offer goods or services to consumers located in the EU. Whereas online platform intermediaries are covered to the extent that they have a contractual relationship with both the businesses trading via them and the consumers using them, general online search engines are covered irrespective of whether they have a contractual relationship. The proposal excludes online advertising and payment services that do not intermediate direct transactions between businesses and consumers, as well as intermediaries that operate between businesses only.
DBEI's Digital Economy Unit has responsibility for the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) and the Statutory Instrument that transposed the Directive – European Communities (Directive 2000/31/EC) Regulations 2003 (SI No 68 of 2003).
Examples of services covered by the Directive include online information services (such as online newspapers), online selling of products and services (books, financial services and travel services), online advertising, professional services (lawyers, doctors, estate agents), entertainment services and basic intermediary services (access to the Internet and transmission and hosting of information).
These services also include services provided free of charge to the recipient and funded, for example, by advertising or sponsorship.
As a result of having the responsibility for the Directive the Unit is the National Contact point for the purposes of Article 19(2) of the Directive. Under Article 19(2) Members States shall cooperate with other Member States: they shall, to that end, appoint one or several contact points, whose details they shall communicate to the other Member States and to the Commission.
The E-Commerce Act 2000 is dealt with by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
Digital Single Market Bulletin
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation produces a Digital Single Market Bulletin which provides regular updates on key developments in relation to the digital transformation agenda in Ireland.
Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)
The Irish performance (and that of the other EU Member States) against the DSM initiatives set out in the Strategy is measured within the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The DESI is a composite index that summarises five relevant indicators (Connectivity, Human Capital / Digital skills, Use of Internet by Citizens, Integration of Digital Technology by Businesses, Digital Public Services) on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.
The DESI index 2018 shows that Ireland is ranked as the 6th most advanced digital economy in the EU. Ireland ranks very high when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs embraced e-commerce. Our main challenge identified in the Index is to equip more than half of the population with at least basic digital skills.
Departmental Responsibilities for Digital Single Market Policy Issues
The Departments / Offices responsible for negotiating and progressing initiatives in relation to the DSM policy areas are as follows:
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
- Cross-border parcel delivery services
- Telecoms rules, including Roaming Regulation, BEREC, WiFi4EU, Electronic Communications Code,
- Audio Visual Media Services
- Free flow of data
- Security of network and information systems
- .eu domain name Regulation
Department of Justice and Equality
- Illegal content on the internet
Department of Finance / Public Expenditure and Reform
- Modernisation of VAT regimes for eCommerce
- Re-use of Public Service Information
- Single Digital Gateway
Office of the Government Information Officer
- eGovernment Action Plan
- Open Data