01 Dec, 2021

Liberals are driving Europe’s digital future

On 26 November, after months of discussions, the European Parliament committee of Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) agreed on a proposal of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Council of Ministers reached a general approach on the DMA and the Digital Services Act (DSA). Both are important pieces of legislation in the EU’s new digital rulebook to update existing rules and to introduce a new digital playing field.

Andrus Ansip MEP, former European Commissioner and former Prime Minister of Estonia, is shadow rapporteur on the Digital Markets Act and underlines the importance of this legislation to “harmonise and ensure effective competition in digital markets”.

The act regulates consumer data for third-party advertisements and puts an outright ban on using data profiling in ads targeting children. It is important for liberals to enable equal competition and support small and medium sized enterprises and digital start-ups:

“The purpose is to ensure effective competition in digital markets and a fair and contestable online platform ecosystem. It is not a protectionist or an anti-American piece of legislation. We share the same digital goals with our US counterparts as we deal with the same issues. We need a level playing field for our companies and fair competition,” Ansip said.

You can re-watch the press conference with Andrus Ansip and President of the Renew Europe Group Stéphane Séjourné here.

This proposal also aims to stop unfair practices and market distorted behaviour of big tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others. The European Commission can fine companies with a penalty ranging from 4% to 20% of a company’s worldwide turnover. A European High-Level Group of Digital Regulators will ensure the consistent application of the DMA regulation.

The regulation will be voted on the European Parliament plenary session on 14 December and negotiations on it will commence during the French Presidency in early 2022.

To find out more about the Digital Markets Act, click here.

For the Digital Services Act, ALDE Party Vice-President Dita Charanzová MEP is shadow rapporteur for the Renew Europe Group. This Act aims to put in place a set of digital comprehensive rules to better protect consumers and contribute to a safer online environment. Negotiations on the DSA are still ongoing in the IMCO Committee and a vote is expected on 9 December. When it passes the plenary session negotiations can start between the European Parliament and the European Council.

The Council of Ministers simultaneously adopted a general approach on the DMA and the DSA. The Competitive Council was chaired by Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Telecom, Zdravko Počivalšek, who chaired his last meeting in the Council before handing over the Slovenian Presidency to the French one.

Charanzová congratulated the Council on their DSA agreement but, at the same time, reminded them of the crucial trialogue negotiations between the Council and Parliament that will follow:

Glad to see the DSA and DMA advanced in the Council. But remember, it takes two to tango. The EP will get there with the DSA too, the priority is getting a good compromise first,” she said.

Photo credit: Philippe Buissin, European Parliament 2021.

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