At long last, the EU and the UK agreed on a Brexit deal just before Christmas. After months of negotiations, white smoke emerged on 24 December, as EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that their negotiators had reached a historic agreement. Most importantly, this meant that a no-deal scenario, which would have dramatic consequences for the UK and EU economies, had been avoided. But is that enough to make it a good agreement for Liberals on both sides of the Channel?
Largely unnoticed by the public – Brexit had been the dominant topic at the turn of the year – the EU Commission concluded negotiations on an investment agreement with the People’s Republic of China shortly before New Year’s Eve. The driving force behind the trade agreement, which largely excludes questions about Chinese human rights violations, was the German government. At the beginning of the German EU Presidency in the summer of 2020, Angela Merkel announced that the EU had a great strategic interest in “actively shaping cooperation with China, one of the key players of this century.”
Officially born in Maastricht in 1993, European citizenship is unique in its kind: it is the first transnational citizenship of the modern era, and arguably the testimony of a prodigious path of integration among nations that, after years of troubled relations, finally came together to create the biggest area of democracy and freedom in the world. Almost thirty years later, European citizenship remains a highly topical issue for a number of reasons. In a general sense, it is pressured by the rise of populism, nationalism, as well as the constantly increasing constraining dissensus of national actors vis-à-vis supranational institutions. More specifically, however, recent developments, such as Brexit and attacks on the rule of law in some Member States, make a re-discussion of this form of citizenship ever more urgent.
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.
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.