Parliament adopts new transparency rules for political advertising  

Press Releases 
  • More information about political adverts will help voters make informed choices 
  • Protection of freedom of expression and personal data  
  • Ban on sponsoring ads from outside the EU ahead of elections  

The new rules will aim to enhance citizens’ trust in election campaigns and help fight against disinformation and foreign interference.

On Tuesday, Parliament adopted new rules on transparency and targeting of political advertising, which will make election and referenda campaigns more transparent and resistant to interference. The new rules will regulate political advertisements, notably online ads, while also providing for a framework for political actors to advertise more easily across the EU.

Greater transparency and accountability

Under the new rules, political advertising will have to be clearly labelled. Citizens, authorities and journalists will be able to easily obtain information on whether they are being targeted with an ad, who is paying for it, how much is being paid, and to which elections or referendum it is linked. All political advertising and related information will be stored in a public online repository.

To limit foreign interference in European democratic processes, sponsoring ads from outside the EU will be prohibited in the three-month period before an election or referendum.

Regulating targeting strategies

In order to protect voters from manipulation, targeting and amplification techniques will only be possible for online political advertising based on personal data collected from the subject once their explicit and separate consent has been given. Special categories of personal data (e.g. ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation) or minors’ data cannot be used.

Protecting freedom of expression

The rules only concern remunerated political advertisements. They do not affect the content of political ads nor rules on conduct and financing of political campaigns. Personal views, political opinions, such as any unsponsored journalistic content, or communication on the organisation and participation in elections (e.g. announcements of candidates) by official national or EU sources are not impacted.


Rapporteur Sandro Gozi (Renew, FR) said: “Digital technologies make citizens more vulnerable to disinformation and foreign interference. Now more than ever, it is crucial to safeguard our democratic and electoral processes. The rules adopted today play a pivotal role in helping citizens discern who is behind a political message and make an informed choice when they head to the polls. With the European elections approaching, we urge all major online platforms to start applying the new rules as soon as possible and ensure the digital space remains a safe place to exchange political ideas and opinions”.

Press conference

The rapporteur held a press conference after the plenary vote on new rules on transparent and secure political advertising. Watch it on replay here.

Next steps

Following the adoption in plenary (with 470 in favour to 50 against and 105 abstentions), Council needs to formally adopt the text next.

The rules will apply 18 months after the entry into force, while the definitions and measures on the non-discriminatory provision of cross-border political advertising (including for European political parties and political groups) will apply already 20 days after the publication in the EU Official Journal.

With these rules, Parliament is responding directly to citizens’ concerns about a safe and trustworthy digital society, notably proposal 33 (5) from the report on Conference on the Future of Europe.