20 years after the introduction of the European E-Commerce Directive, the Digital Services Act (DSA) was presented yesterday by the European Commission to complement the aging Directive. Twenty years ago, when the E-Commerce Directive (which still regulates the internal market for online services) was introduced, there were no social media platforms as we know them today. Regulation aimed at the requirements of the platform economy is therefore urgently needed. In addition to the Digital Services Act, the Commission also presented the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is directed at platforms with a gatekeeper function. The DMA supplements regulations on competition law and is intended to limit the market power of the larger digital corporations.
Topic of the month
Poland and Hungary vetoed the EU’s historic EUR 1,8 trillion budget and Covid-19 recovery plan over attempts to link funding to respect for the rule of law and democratic norms. The Rule of Law Mechanism would give the European Union a tool for sanctioning violations of stated democratic principles by limiting financial instruments more quickly than is currently possible. Both countries are currently under EU investigations for undermining the independence of courts, media and NGOs. In other words, if the mechanism was approved, they would risk losing tens of billions in aid. Without agreement among all member states, projects financed by the seven-year budget will go without funds and the EUR 750 billion agenda to rebuild European economy will not be activated.
This Thursday and Friday, EU leaders will meet once again in Brussels for a European Council summit. The agenda is packed: COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security, external relations and, on Friday afternoon, a EURO summit focusing on the capital market and banking union. The major and minor questions of the European Union’s fate are assembled on this agenda under a magnifying glass. Always present are those that are not at the table but have an influence on the menu: Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, China and the USA. So there is more to it than just the day-to-day business.And once again the question to the EU is: Hang in there or restart?
The EU Commission chooses the right approaches to regulate disinformation
Find the original article in German here.
While in Germany one often has the feeling that disinformation does not pose a serious threat to social cohesion and democratic discourse, the debate has already progressed considerably at the European level. With the “European Democracy Action Plan” presented on 3 December 2020, the EU Commission, in particular the liberal Vice-President of the Commission Věra Jourová, shows that it has not only understood the problems caused by disinformation, but that it is also choosing the right regulatory approaches.
In cooperation with the Academy of Liberalism, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom just released a podcast devoted to the topic of “Baltic Buble: COVID-19″. The episode, starring Estonian MP Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Latvian MEP Ivars Ijabs, and Lithuanian mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius, focuses on how much COVID-19 has influenced the economy of the Baltic countries and how dark or bright is the future?
Last Monday, Hungary and Poland blocked the EU’s historic financial package of 1.82 trillion euros. The right-wing nationalist governments of the two countries want to prevent the rule of law compliance conditionality in the distribution of EU funds. Meanwhile, the recently declared “State of Danger” in Hungary is being used by the government to amend the constitution again under the pretext of the Corona pandemic and to govern by decree. The new draft laws restrict the rights of LGBTI persons, undermine the transparency of expenditure of state funds and reduce the influence of opposition parties in the next parliamentary elections.