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EPP group position on the Digital Services Act

Our position paper on the DSA became the EPP group line after a successful vote on Tuesday evening and will give our rapporteurs a balanced guideline for the tough negotiations in the European Parliament.

Last summer a small group of EPP MEPs (Axel Voss, Roberta Metsola, Andreas Schwab, Kris Peeters, Jeroen Lenaers and Pablo Arias Echeverría) started to write down our key principles for the upcoming DSA negotiations in the European Parliament. After discussing the draft with our colleagues and including their comments, we had to wait many weeks until the paper was finally put to a vote. The complex internal procedures and a full agenda did not make it easy. This is why we were delighted when it was finally adopted in an EPP Group meeting on Tuesday evening.

What's all the fuzz about?

The DSA paper illustrates our key ideas and principles for this crucial file that will determine the future of the Digital Single Market. Thereby, we tried to find a balanced approach that effectively tackles the pressing challenges of a digital world, while at the same time preserving our fundamental rights and giving enough leeway for digital innovation. Some of the key messages are:

  • Maintain the current notice-and-action procedures (based on the e-ecommerce Directive) as a baseline requirement for all platforms in the DSM and harmonize those rules across Europe as much as possible (=> Regulation!).

  • Add proportional proactive measures for cases where illegal content became systemic, where the illegal character of the content has already been established or where the type of content / its nature of illegality is such that contextualization is not necessary.

  • While legal takedown obligations in the DSA should only address illegal content (= any content that is not in compliance with Union law or the law of a Member State), harmful content deserves its own (co-)regulatory approach outside of the DSA.

  • Establish a level playing field by further differentiate between platforms since some of them have developed excessive market power in the past decades and are abusing it.

  • Extend the territorial scope of the DSA to cover the activities of companies and service providers established in 3rd countries as long as they offer their services in the DSM.

  • Preserve the prohibition of imposing a general monitoring obligation as it is determined by Art 15 of the e-commerce Directive.

  • Instead of a new expensive EU-agency, the European Commission shall play a strong role in overseeing, coordinating and supporting the national enforcement bodies in a system that is similar to the ECN (European Competition Network).

What are the next steps?

After the European Commission presented its DSA proposal on 15/12/2020, it is now up to the Council and the European Parliament to write their General Approach / parliamentarian report. In the Parliament, the DSA file was allocated to the IMCO-committee by the Referral Unit. This decision was however contested by several other committees (e.g. JURI, LIBE). A decision to solve this clash of competences by the CCC (committee of committee chairs) is to be expected in March. As already reported by Politico, the IMCO-EPP decided that MEP Arba Kokalari will become their Shadow rapporteur and left the Rapporteurship for the S&D group. The other, potentially involved, committees will in most cases only appoint their representatives after the final CCC-decision. For all EPP-representatives, our DSA-EPP position paper will serve as guidance by underlining which key positions need to be defended. Find out more about those key ideas and principles in the attached file:

EPP - DigitalServicesAct
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