A Digital Single Market for Europe: the Commission's Strategy to Combine Problem, Solution, and Political Momentum

Isabel Camisão

Part of the broader Digital Agenda for Europe launched in May 2010 by the Barroso Commission, the Digital Single Market (DSM) was sought to harmonize the patchwork of national online markets, namely by eliminating regulatory barriers and facilitating electronic payments and invoicing, dispute resolution and customer trust. The reform of the Single Market through the Single Market Act I and II included specific key-proposals and several secondary actions in the DSM domain. The new Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, confirmed the commitment to the completion of the DSM, which he identified as one of the Commission's top ten priorities and, accordingly, he has launched in May 2015 the DSM Strategy. The aim of this paper is to assess the Commission's role in the completion of a fully functioning DSM. Drawing on John Kingdon's Multiple Streams' framework (1984; 2003), we will analyse if and how the Commission has managed to push forward its agenda regarding the DSM. Has the Commission been able to bring, what Kingdon called, a "prepackaged combination" of problem, solution and political momentum in the DSM domain? The paper will focus in particular in the Commission's actions to softening up the other key players in order to be ready to advance its pet proposals at the propitious policy window.

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