The internet and digital technologies are transforming our world. Barriers online can deny people the full benefits that digital developments can offer.

Making the EU's single market fit for the digital age requires tearing down unnecessary regulatory barriers and moving from individual national markets to one single EU-wide rulebook.

These steps could contribute €415 billion per year to economic growth, boosting jobs, competition, investment and innovation in the EU.

The Digital Single Market is essentially about removing national barriers to transactions that take place online. It builds on the concept of the common market, intended to eliminate trade barriers between Member States with the aim of increasing economic prosperity and contributing to ‘an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’, and further developed into the concept of the internal market, defined as ‘an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured’. Following on from the Lisbon Strategy, the Europe 2020 strategy introduced the Digital Agenda for Europe as one of seven flagship initiatives, recognising the key enabling role that the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) will have to play if the EU wants to succeed in its ambitions for 2020. The Digital Single Market has been recognised as a priority by the Commission in its Digital Single Market Strategy.

The Digital Single Market has the potential to improve access to information, to bring efficiency gains in terms of reduced transaction costs, dematerialised consumption and reduced environmental footprint, and to introduce improved business and administrative models. More e-commerce generates tangible benefits for consumers, such as rapidly evolving new products, lower prices, more choice and better quality of goods and services, because of cross-border trade and easier comparison of offers. More e-government facilitates online compliance, and access to jobs and business opportunities for both citizens and businesses.

Information on progress so far and next steps can be found on the European Commission's website.