MEPs scrutinise Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act  

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Internal Market and Economic Affairs Committees discussed the legislative proposals to better protect consumers and create fairer platform economy with Executive Vice-President Vestager.

The Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act were the focus of two European Parliament Committee meetings throughout Tuesday. European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager presented the legislative proposals saying that the goal is to create a single European rulebook to tackle various challenges currently faced with online platforms from hate speech, disinformation and election manipulation to the sale of dangerous and counterfeit products and unfair market access of SMEs.

Consumer protection


Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee MEPs concentrated their comments on consumer protection, scrutinising the options to curb the power and control of big tech, including their access and use of people’s personal data, e.g. for targeted advertising, and ways to guarantee product safety, including the question of limited liability of platforms for the quality of products sold.


Other questions tackled included interoperability to enhance competition, algorithm transparency, and acquisitions and mergers in the digital sector.

Improving competition


During the debate with MEPs of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, the focus was on how the legislation being proposed would help protect competition in the EU, by speedily tackling the monopolistic nature of the digital sector and its fast evolving environment. MEPs expressed some doubts that the rules would allow the Commission to act decisively and quickly enough, or that the penalties envisaged were consequent enough.


Numerous MEPs also raised fears over who would be controlling the ‘gatekeepers’. Some said that the legislation proposed risked not being enough to do this whereas others said that the legislation was simply giving gatekeepers too much leeway.


Catch up with the debates

The debate in the Internal Market committee is available here and in the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee here (scroll to 17:50).


Background

  • Parliament adopted in October two legislative initiative reports calling on the Commission to revise the E-Commerce Directive and to adopt a new ex ante internal market instrument to regulate online platforms with a gatekeeper role in the digital economy.

  • The Commission presented the proposals for a comprehensive set of rules for all digital services, including social media, online market places, and other online platforms that operate in the European Union on 15 December. Read the first reaction by Committee Chair Anna Cavazzini here.