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Ensuring a Single Market for Information Society services

Mr. Mario Monti, European Commissioner for the Single Market, has welcomed the political agreement reached by Internal Market Ministers on the proposed Directive on a transparency mechanism for Information Society services.

The proposed Directive would require draft national ...
Mr. Mario Monti, European Commissioner for the Single Market, has welcomed the political agreement reached by Internal Market Ministers on the proposed Directive on a transparency mechanism for Information Society services.

The proposed Directive would require draft national rules that concern the free movement of Information Society services to be notified to the Commission. After notification there would be an initial "standstill" period of three months to allow the Commission, Member States and interested parties to comment on the draft rules and if necessary propose amendments. The proposal's key aim is to ensure that the Single Market is not fragmented and that no new regulatory barriers appear.

"Preliminary approval of this proposal marks an important step towards putting in place an appropriate legislative framework for the Information Society in Europe", commented Mr Monti. "The proposed Directive would help to ensure a true frontier-free Single Market for Information Society services, without which many services would not be viable. At the same time it would allow Member States to legislate at the national level in accordance with their own traditions and priorities, without the imposition of harmonized rules at the EU level. Indeed the notification procedure would encourage an exchange of ideas between Member States, reduce the risk of countries adopting diverging measures and so help to avoid inconsistencies which could otherwise undermine the effectiveness of national measures."

The proposal recognizes that Information Society services are neither broadcasting nor telecommunications services and so should not be subsumed into existing inappropriate telecommunications or broadcasting regulations. The proposal defines "Information Society services" as all existing or new types of services that will be provided at a distance, by electronic means and on the individualized request of a service receiver. This definition of "service" would cover, for example, on-line professional services (e.g. solicitors, estate agents, stockbrokers, insurance, health care, travel agents), interactive entertainment (e.g. video on demand, on-line video-games, virtual visits to museums), on-line information (e.g. electronic libraries and newspapers, financial information), virtual shopping malls and distance learning services.
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