Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Data is the Fuel of the New Economy

I’m a man who likes to live on the edge, always bathed in the glow of a powerful adrenaline rush. And so last pay day I went out and brought myself a new piece of extreme kit… a vegetable spiralizer. No more boring sliced carrot for me I say.

I am trying to eat more healthy foods, and so lashed out £29.99 for the machine, and then went to the market with my wife to buy courgettes, beetroot, apples and so forth. Back home I assembled my little machine, placed some vegetables in its jaws of death, turned the handle, and et voila… a range of fascinating shapes appeared thanks to its four blade options.

Green apple, beetroot and carrots curled themselves around each other with colourful crunchy delight, and with the addition of some ham and cheese a really tasty salad was born. It took only a few minutes to wash the blades through and pack them away… money well spent.

There is another market on my mind at the moment, and there’s not a courgette in sight. I refer to the Digital Single European Market (DSM).

The European Commission website states, “The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. But existing barriers online mean citizens miss out on goods and services, internet companies and start-ups have their horizons limited, and businesses and governments cannot fully benefit from digital tools. It's time to make the EU's single market fit for the digital age – tearing down regulatory walls and moving from 28 national markets to a single one. This could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs”.

On the 10th January 2017, it was announced from Brussels that The European Commission is proposing new legislation to ensure stronger privacy in electronic communications, while opening up new business opportunities.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Data is the fuel of the new economy. To ensure that Europe is successful in the new era of the industrial economy, we need a solid and predictable framework for data flow within the Single Market”.

So how will the UK share in all of this, now that we are intending to leave the EU? The European Commission’s web site states, ‘The Commission will engage proactively in discussions on reaching "adequacy decisions" ….. with key trading partners in East and South-East Asia, starting with Japan and Korea in 2017, but also with interested countries of Latin America and the European Neighbourhood’. What that would mean for the UK is too early to say.

As a Brit I am feeling like someone all dressed up for the party going on next door, but with no invitation in my hand.  All I can do is look over the fence and wish. Prime Minister May is about to trigger the UK’s intention to leave the EU… with so many issues on the table I just hope the significance of the DSM is not overlooked in the maelstrom of negotiations which are destined to follow.

Graham Harman-Baker

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