Today the European Commission issued a strategy paper on the Digital Single Market ("DSM") that includes 16 initiatives to be completed by the end of 2016. It is the most radical industrial policy adopted by the EU since the original Single Market project nearly 25 years ago for the free movement within the EU of goods, services, labour and capital.

An underlying theme of the DSM strategy paper is a desire to ensure that competitors compete in a free and fair market. The application of competition law to the "new digital age" will be examined through a sector inquiry that was also announced today. The objective of creating a competitive digital single market in the EU will have a material effect on businesses in many sectors. This objective will be met by amending existing law and adopting new legislation and rules, some only recently adopted and others soon to be adopted.

Many companies affected will likely regard the issues as a zero-sum game, so you win or you lose. Consequently, many issues will be divisive. The Commission's proposal is seeking to make changes by the end of 2016, which, given the number of proposals, is ambitious.

Implementation of this strategy and the initiatives will affect all non-EU companies that engage in the digital market in the EU and may have more significant reverberations outside of the EU, either because other legislators pick up the changes and implement them at home or because companies have a preference for a single global business model and decide to adopt a model that fits the EU regime.
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