The Project

The key issues of the Centre are around consumers and SMEs. Consumers and SMEs are at the centre of the European project. They are the engine of the EU economy. The digital revolution and technologies are transforming the economy and social relations across the world, posing unprecedented regulatory challenges, and undermining existing legal frameworks and principles. They present opportunities and risks for both SMEs and consumers.

Fundamental rights and other economic rights are involved (e.g. data protection, ownership and property, contracts). The EU Digital Single Market attempts to remove regulatory barriers and move from national markets to a single EU market.

Regulation plays a pivotal role in the creation of a EU single market fit for a sustainable digital economy, ensuring an optimal economic and social balance.

Within this framework, how are SMEs and consumers affected? What are the challenges and risks ahead?

What regulatory environment should provide for a right balance between economic exploitation, social justice and the protection of established rights?

How should the law of innovation look like and what is the role of the EU?

How it is decided what the rules are is one of the most important issues facing policymakers today. The establishment of the CoE aims at giving support, visibility and enhanced impact to several academic activities in this critical area of EU integration. SMEs and consumers will be placed at the centre of the digital ecosystem, bearing in mind that innovation should serve humankind, not vice versa, nor it is not a goal per se.

This is particularly relevant in the current state of events, where the technological curve has gone up steeply with the development of disruptive artificial intelligence, databases, data lakes, distribution ledgers, algorithms and other intelligent systems that make use of big data as their essential fuel. These digital technologies place public policy and law making at a crossroad.