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CEBIT Global Conferences

Bitkom President Dirks: digitization transcends borders

In his opening speech at the CeBIT Global Conferences 2016 Bitkom President Thorsten Dirks has made a passionate plea for the digital single market in the European Union.

14 Mar. 2016
Thorsten Dirks
Bitkom President Thorsten Dirks

Thorsten Dirks said: With the EU conference on "Digital Single Market" at CeBIT 2016, the digital economy puts a counterpoint to foreclosure and renationalisation.

Thorsten Dirks urged the Europeans not to hide in "national snail shells", but to continue to deepen the European project. The digital single market would thereby play a crucial role. "Digitization transcends borders," he said. "Who plays with Europe's future, will risk our digital future."

Size does matter in the digital economy

In order to secure the economic future of Europe in the digital world, there is an urgent need to establish uniform standards in the EU. As Mr. Dirks said: size matters, big is beautiful – and the winner takes it all - this is applicable in the digital economy. To be capable of dealing with digital giants from the US and China European companies need to have same sizes. Although a German company could be a national giant, it will often be an international dwarf.

The Digital Single Market is essential

Without the Digital Single Market the failure of European companies is inevitable. The sheer size of a company is indispensable in the digital world. For this, however, a harmonized legal framework "from Malmö to Malta" must be created, to give legal certainty to digital companies throughout the EU. "Consumers who use the services of providers from other EU Member States must be able to rely on the same standards."

Still, many rules were formulated out of focus - there are legal uncertainties. Dirks demand: "We need a principled legal framework."

Uniform European rules for the digital economy

Dirks demanded a uniform European data protection regulation and a harmonization of copyright, which is to encourage creative acts and not to hinder them. Dirks said, we should not transfer analogous rules into the digital world, but to form digital platforms in a way "that creative content will find a maximum distribution and can make a difference".