Digital technology needs to be at the centre all European trade – not marginalised as a separate corner of the overall economy.

That is the message to MEPs from Vicky Ford, Conservative chairman of the European Parliament's Single Market Committee.

In a speech on the digital single market to the House in Strasbourg she warned:  "The digital economy is no longer a subset of economic activity. Today every market has digital elements and Europe's single market must not be left behind.

"Unlocking the opportunities of our digital world is key to delivering jobs and growth."

She pointed out that in the G20 the internet economy is forecast to grow by 8% every year for the next five, while E-commerce alone could save our consumers more than €150 billion (£120b) a year.

Burdens on new businesses must be lifted, payment costs cut and barriers removed to the delivery of goods ordered online.

She stressed consumer confidence and said : "Fraud prevention, licences, copyright and logistics all need to be addressed. Laws must prevent abuse by market-dominators but also get the right balance between traditional operators and over-the-top players.

"If we want to get the best out of e-government, e-health, e-procurement then we need ICT systems which can talk to each other.

"Remember, Big Data can bring big benefits. Not only economically but also to society in sectors like personalised medicines and health. We do need a data protection package but it needs to be one that is not only pro-individuals, but also pro-business and pro innovation

"However, to be able to share our data we also need to have confidence that it won't be misused.  Hence, the work we are doing on Network Security."

Crucially, she said, the benefits of the digital market must be available to all:  "As we race to embrace the digital world we mustn’t leave rural communities behind. Infrastructure is essential, both to reach remote areas and to provide deep coverage in cities."