Plenary 4

Hashtag: #eurodig_pl4

Economy – How ICT can foster growth and development in Europe

Referring to proposal no.: 4,45,66,69,73,92
Find here the list of submitted proposals

Organising team:

  • Dean Ceulic
  • Dirk Krischenowski, dotberlin
  • Linda van Renssen, LOAD
  • Jimmy Schulz, LOAD

Key participants:

On the panel:

In the audience:


  • Jimmy Schulz, LOAD

Reporter: Olivier Crepin-Leblond, ICANN’s At-large Advisory Committee (ALAC)

Remote participation moderator: Farzaneh Badiei, University of Hamburg

Description / key focus:

  • The role of SMEs in the digital economy
  • How to reduce regulatory barriers to innovation to compete with global markets
  • New online business models

What challenges and opportunities do IT-SMEs and Startups face in Europe: finding a European path – addressing issues such as:

  • Single digital market but cultural, language, tax, administrative hurdles
  • Growing entrepreneurial culture but continued reluctance by investors
  • New online business models and the use of meta / big data
  • Internationalization of IT-SMEs
  • Crossborder interference with Internet infrastructure
  • Financing / Venture Capital / Tax issues
  • Access to qualified labour
  • Access to R&D


- Innovations by digital SMEs have a key role to play in securing long-term, sustainable economic growth in Europe. Yet Europe’s IT-SMEs often remain small, vulnerable to international competition and represent only a tiny portion of international trade. Rather than establishing large state-funded IT/internet projects – as various politicians have suggested in reaction to US intelligence surveillance – we need to find ways of maximizing the competitiveness of European digital companies, particularly SMEs, whilst maintaining an open Internet. SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, crucial for jobs and drivers of innovation. A range of challenges and opportunities could be discussed in this context, with a particular focus on the internationalisation of SMEs and access to (emerging) markets.

- Crossborder interference with parts of the infrastructure of the Internet, specifically with traffic- routing and at the interface between the network and the content, effects Internet users’ ability to access or provide content and services. The concern is not just with outages or security incidents, but with actions to block, filter, divert or intercept content in one Member State, that may impact on users who are based in another Member State. This may result in cross-­border (human rights) implications for access to content and information carried by that traffic.

Plenary 4 Break out session – sub topics:

Digital  SMEs  have  a  key  role  to  play  in  securing  long term, sustainable  economic  growth  in  Europe.  Yet  Europe’s  IT SMEs  often  remain  small,  vulnerable  to  international  competition  and  represent  only  a  tiny  portion  of  international  trade.  Rather  than  establishing  large  state funded  IT/internet  projects,  as  various  politicians  have  suggested  in  reaction  to  US  intelligence  surveillance,  we  need  to  find  ways  of  maximizing  the  competitiveness  of  European  digital  companies,  particularly  SMEs,  whilst  maintaining  an  open  Internet.  SMEs  are  the  backbone  of  the  European  economy,  crucial  for  jobs  and  drivers  of  innovation.  A  range  of  challenges  and  opportunities  could  be  discussed  in  this  context,  with  a  particular  focus  on  the internationalisation  of  SMEs  and  access  to  (emerging)  market

  • Internet business models in Europe: There  is  a  common  view,  that  the  ”Internet  is  for  free”.  Users  are  not  aware  of  business  models  which  create  value  e.g. from meta data / big data (Proposal 45): Session Moderator: Ulrich Kohn

 There  needs  to  be  means  in  place  which  allow  each  user  of  the internet  to  understand  the  interest  of  each  stakeholder  (network  provider,  regulator,  application  service  provider Governments  articulate  this  by  creating  laws  and  implementing  respective  means  to  enforce  such  laws.  The  private  sector  has  no  obligations  to  clearly  state  the  methods  and  models  for executing  their  business.  This  violates  the  basic  ideas  of  a  multistakeholder  governance  and  shall  be  analysed  and corrected.

  • Geographic Top-Level Domains (GeoTLDs): between profitableness and public interest (Proposal 4): Session Moderator: Dirk Krischenowski

The global regulatory organization for Internet-Domain-Names and IP-Addresses ICANN has recently opened up the Domain-Name-System (DNS) to around 1000 new extensions, so-called top-level domains (TLDs). The process for expanding this key part of the Internet’s infrastructure had been evolved and decided in a bottom-up multi-stakeholder process over the last 9 years, including businesses, governments and Internet users. This revolution in addressing resources on the Internet has vast implications on the future usage of the Internet. The new geographic TLDs (GeoTLDs) such as .berlin, .paris and .zurich should be discussed as example of the stress field between sustainable profitableness in the operation of new TLDs and the Public Interest. As most of the GeoTLDs are startup companies hot topics include Governance, Safety and Data Protection issues and the gap between a contract with US-based ICANN and local legislation and regulation.


Links: …find out more on the WIKI here


  1. Adapt education systems and encourage entrepreneurship with young people
  2. Change attitudes to risk-taking and address the stigma of failure in European Society
  3. Speed up European integration of the regulatory environments and make the regulatory environments agile to support and not hinder the evolution of technology and business
  4. Reboot Europe – stop putting barriers up to protect the past at the expense of promoting the future – because the Internet is a chance for everyone

Conclusions from the break out session:

General remarks on the question about the Focus of internationalization (a: Europe b: global)

a) With regard to Europen Union, a EU digital single market does not exist, so internationalization has also an EU emphasis/Focus.
b) Sometimes it seems easier to internationalize individual business, as regulatory barriers do not exist or are less restrictive.

(The Group Focus the discussion on a)

Barriers for internationalization:

  • langugage? (might not, as English seem to be the the no. 1 foreign language across Europe)
  • tax issue
  • cultural differences
  • Necessity of a national office/subsidary

On the way to create a real EU single market esp. EU members are restisten in transfering competences on the EU Level. Counter arguement of members is usually securing their own, high quality Standards. A more neutral Regulation (e.g. Country of origin principle tax issues) could show a way out of this Dilemma.

With respect to TTIP, participants examined the idea, to compare TTIP set-up with the ongoing legal harmonisation on EU Level and bring both inline, if necessary.

 Suggested Action items (Focus on creating a real European digital single market):

  • Strengthening multi-stakeholder approaches and generating more sustainability.
  • Promote EuroDIG to EU-Politicians
  • Stakeholder, in this particular business issue the industr, has to force a solution oriented lobbyism and address their main obstacles incl. clear proposoals
  • New EU-COM create a wing of opportunity: EU-COM considering to change their way of Stakeholder dialogue. As EU-COM is an institutional Partner of EuroDIG, joint “unconferences” could be a way to have a main issue based conferences/roundtable debates, …
  • Development of EuroDIG to a permanent stakeholder dialogue in Europe.

Read the transcript here!