Electronic Signatures a Linchpin for European Digitization Strategies

Mary Ellen Power, April 23, 2015

The European Commission is working to help companies in the EU stay competitive with Internet giants like Facebook and Google. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal reported that the European Commission is set to announce a new single digital market strategy that aims to improve the conditions for digital commerce throughout Europe, using a variety of technologies, including electronic signatures.

Electronic signature law in Europe has been especially complex to put into place because varied contracting and business regulatory laws across national borders make creating a common e-signature policy for the EU extremely difficult. However, recent legal advances have made common e-signature practices across the EU possible, and the European Commission is using this progress as a launching point to its digital market strategy.

eIDAS and E-Signatures: A Legal Perspective

eIDAS and E-Signatures: A Legal Perspective

Lorna Brazell of Osbourne Clarke LLP navigates new eIDAS Regulation

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Looking at the European Commission's digital market strategy
According to the news source, the networking infrastructure, automotive and manufacturing industries make up approximately 2 million companies in the EU. The commission found that these 2 million companies create approximately 33 million jobs, but 41 percent of these organizations are not using digital tools to empower their operations. There are still many barriers to helping organizations in Europe digitize their operations. Varied national laws and pricing models for shipping, for example, create major barriers trying to disperse goods throughout the EU. Similarly, complex contract laws, for example, make it difficult for many organizations to enable digital operational across national boundaries.

Andrus Ansip, the European Commission's vice president for the digital single market, explained that Europe's existing digital capabilities are telling people to stay home. The commission found that just 15 percent of consumers purchase across national borders, and just 7 percent of small- and medium-sized enterprises sell outside of their domestic market. Ansip believes this undermines Europe's potential, as businesses taking advantage of the digital market can reach a consumer base of 350 million people while the EU boasts approximately 500 million consumers. If the commission can empower EU businesses to use digital tools to reach the entire consumer base, not just their domestic market, the economic potential will be significant.

Using e-signatures to establish digital businesses
Electronic signature software is empowering businesses the world over respond to the increasingly digital marketplace. As consumers expect a better experience from businesses, organizations increasingly need to adapt their processes to deliver that experience. Electronic signature simultaneously meet both of these needs by helping consumers interact with businesses more intuitively and giving organizations easier access to e-contracting and advanced collaboration functionality.

Electronic signature technologies are helping businesses adapt to changing operational demands in the digital global market. Our beginner's guide can help you learn everything you need to know to use e-signatures to drive innovation moving forward.