On 15 December 2020, the European Commission unveiled the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, as "two milestones in making Europe fit for the Digital Age". These two legislative proposals correspond to the declared commitment of the Von der Leyen Commission to the revision of the internal market rules for digital services and will trigger an impact on citizens, providers of digital services, business users of digital services and the society at large.
DSA regulation keeps key principles of the E-commerce directive, in particular the liability provisions. It modernizes and clarifies the exemptions of liability, promotes the adoption of proactive measures, imposes asymmetric due diligence obligations to a) improve the fight against illegal and harmful content, b) empower users and stakeholders, c) improve transparency, and seeks to improve cooperation between Platform and authorities and between authorities of different Member States. It notably introduces an obligation on providers to know their customers which will create more safety for users. Platforms will further have to explain how their algorithms work and how they collect content for more transparency. Enforcement by Digital Services Coordinators and the European Board for Digital Services will ensure that the same rules apply across the EU, that there are possible sanctions and actions imposed where a platform fails to comply and that Member States are equipped with measures to enforce their national laws.
The proposal for a
DMA regulation addresses unfair gatekeeper practices towards business users, weak contestability of platform markets and regulatory fragmentation. It proposes harmonization to ensure contestability and fairness in markets with gatekeepers. It designates gatekeepers and then names the obligations that those gatekeepers have to live up to. These concern notably the use of data, interoperability and self-preferencing. The proposal suggests ex-ante regulation about the type of gatekeeper behaviour that is acceptable as well as targeted market investigations and the set-up of a Digital Markets Advisory Committee.
The DSA and DMA proposals will be the subject of a
dedicated new CoR Opinion, for which the ECON Commission has appointed
Rodi Kratsa (EL/EPP), Governor of the Ionian islands region, as the rapporteur.
The Opinion is scheduled for adoption at the ECON Commission meeting of 20 April 2021 and at the plenary session in June 2021.
The recent opinions of the Committee of the regions on A European framework for regulatory responses to the collaborative economy and A strategy for Europe's digital future and a strategy for data have already highlighted the relevance of digital services and gatekeepers for local and regional authorities (LRAs). The DSA and DMA regulations concern LRAs as
they introduce harmonized rules to modernize EU legislation on digital services and online platforms, follow a European approach to enforcing rules, promote competitiveness and innovation of the local economy, ensure access to platform data for monitoring purposes and introduce liability for illegal content and actions.
This happens in a context of
increasing digital divide and strong need for digital literacy and IT training, but also the
amplified use of technology and the mechanisms of online services by LRAs as a total for better governance and for improvement of public spaces and public life.
By means of this written consultation, Ms Kratsa would like to gather your answers to the following questions:
Do you think that the regulations strike the right balance between addressing market abuse and creating a regulatory framework which offers adequate space for European innovation, SMEs and start-ups in the European (digital) single market?
Where would you suggest modifications?
- Please provide specific feedback, experiences and analyses form your territory in the area of the due-diligence obligations for certain intermediary services. What has worked with the current regime and what needs addressing?
For example, would the new system of national Digital Services Coordinators and the European Board for Digital Services alleviate constraints on local capacity and resources for litigation against digital service providers?
For legal and business certainty, the need for legislation that allows for an innovative framework is important. Considering the need for also legislative cohesion, and taking account of local and regional legal competences, how do you see the relationship of the proposals' implementation with Copyright rules, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the GDPR and the sharing economy?
Are there any other issues of concern you have in connection to digital services and gatekeepers, which are worth discussing and including in the opinion?
You are kindly invited to contribute to this consultation by
sending your replies to the four questions above, or any additional comment, to
3 p.m. on 5 March 2021.
You may reply in your own language if you wish.
Please also note that Ms Kratsa and her team are available for online meetings and exchanges upon request and when appropriate.