ABSTRACT. This article discusses the EU Digital Single Market Strategy, focusing on implications for consumers. The emphasis is on the position of consumers in terms of consumer protection and competition issues. The study analyses the goals set for the Digital Single Market, and how consumer-related aims are discussed in official documents, and mirrors the expressed aims as well as concerns with concrete legislative proposals and action taken, in particular, by the European Commission. The main methods used are based on theoretical legal dogmatics and philosophy of law. The analysis illustrates that some of the highlighted concerns and measures appear overemphasized in terms of their practical significance. Moreover, the measures contemplated and taken do not seem to fully remedy the problems underlined by Digital Single Market materials, or remedying is only beginning. Even though the rhetoric emphasizes how much the Digital Single Market Strategy benefits consumers, the goals related to the position of consumers, and steps for achieving these goals, appear at points vague in official documents. For instance, boosting “consumer confidence” or “trust” is underlined as a goal but not fully mirrored by concrete action or analysis.

Keywords: EU law; EU Digital Single Market; consumers; e-commerce; digital content; harmonization; justification and reasoning; competition; collaborative economy

How to cite: Havu, Katri (2017). “The EU Digital Single Market from a Consumer Standpoint: How Do Promises Meet Means?,” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 9(2): 146–183.

Received 23 August 2017 • Received in revised form 24 September 2017
Accepted 26 September 2017 • Available online 19 October 2017


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Faculty of Law,
University of Helsinki

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