Towards new rules on transparency and targeting of political advertising

Briefing 31-01-2023

Political advertising is central to informing and influencing how people vote, and may affect citizens' perceptions of the legitimacy of their own political system, particularly when published in the run-up to elections. Rules governing political advertising are therefore key to guaranteeing citizens' fundamental rights and the integrity of democratic processes. Rules governing political propaganda during electoral periods are naturally therefore a focal point of electoral law. Traditional rules on campaigning can however be ineffective or difficult to enforce in an online environment where new techniques are being used to target potential voters, with tailored political messages based on large amounts of personal data revealing their sensibilities. To address the new challenges posed by online electoral campaigns, the European Commission presented a proposal for a harmonised set of rules on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. These would apply to both online and offline political advertising. The proposal is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council, under the ordinary legislative procedure. In the Parliament, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) is responsible for the file and adopted its report on 24 January 2023. The Parliament is expected to vote on the report during its February I plenary session. The Council adopted its mandate for negotiations with the Parliament on 13 December 2022. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.