EU digital reforms may make Google and Facebook pay for news

The Commission also wants quicker internet, and more public WiFi...

News publishers could be given new rights by the European Union to demand payment from services like Google News and Facebook who carry their content.

Google is already involved in three EU antitrust probes and now faces the threat of stories being pulled from its news services, or being forced to give payouts to the media organisations who produce the stories that they carry.

"This proposal provides for a new right for press publishers aiming at facilitating online licensing of their publications, the recoupment of their investment and the enforcement of their rights," the European Commission said in a statement.

"Fair sharing of value is also necessary to ensure the sustainability of the press publications sector," it continued.

News organisations have felt a pinch as consumers get more and more of their news exclusively from social networks and aggregate news sites.

Connection

In his 'State of the Union' address, the Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted the importance of connectivity as Europe goes forward:

"We need to be connected. Our economy needs it. People need it. And we have to invest in that connectivity now."

The EU has published plans to ensure that 5G internet is available across the Union by 2025.

It has also issued proposals to increase access to public Wifi across the 28 (soon to be 27) member states.