11th National Selection Conference of the European Youth Parliament Ukraine
Committee on Legal Affairs
Chairperson: Roberts REMESIS (LT)
Unlocking e-opportunities: The shared economy popularised by Uber and Airbnb has embraced the need for creation of Digital Single Market. What measures and necessary legislative steps could the EU take to make its single market fit for the digital age and ensure healthy business environment?

The Sharing Economy

In the last years owning things is no longer an indicator of wealth and people have been turning more and more to the minimalist movement. Also, the growth of the digital and sharing economies have had a big impact in building this reality. Where a few years ago owning a car for almost each member of the family was a status symbol, now we find the youth constantly making use of car sharing services such as Uber instead. But this is not only happening with cars, it's everywhere! Sharing everything from apartments to kitchen appliances, everyone is marvelled by the new business and repurpose opportunities that this economy brings to the table.

But as any other new movement, this one is also subject to uncertainties: Due to the higher risk of fraud there is a need for regulation and the protection of consumer rights. Furthermore, the economy loses revenue and the governments lose money as services in the field of sharing economy are not - or barely - subject to the national tax regulations. Lastly, those that work in this economy having it as their only source of income, will be subject to the lack of benefits such as health insurance or holiday break and bonus.

Some companies, however, are already coming forward with ideas to solve some of these issues. GoodHire, for example, does background checks on companies or people in order to build trust among peer-to-peer (P2P) businesses. The term "P2P" is used to describe a situation in which individuals or companies buy or sell goods directly to each other without any intermediary or third-party involved. (It's the case of Airbnb, for example, in which one person can directly rent his/her house to someone else. Airbnb does not rent the houses, it is only a platform allowing private users to do so.)

The Digital Single Market

The Digital Single Market (DSM) has been a priority of the European Commission (EC) for a few years now. Bringing down barriers, the EC aims to have an open digital environment that allows for and encourages cross-border portability, increased content consumption and to boost the European economy.

However, this market structure still worries some, in particular creators and broadcasters. They fear that they will no longer be able to adapt their content to each Member State (MS) and their different demands, which could, in turn, potentially result in the loss of audience as well as price differences in each MS. This price difference could then end up boosting the creation of a grey market. Lastly, some still argue that the implementation of a DSM would come with a substantial amount of extra work for creators to revise their contracts and content creation strategy, which could keep them from actually producing new and innovative content. This would mean a loss of income for the creators.

Keeping in mind the challenges brought up by the digitalisation of our economies, it is now the EC's task to structure the creation of the DSM in a way to guarantee sustainable business growth in times of an increasingly digital economy.
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