On 15th July 2020, Sandro Gozi and Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, members of the committee on Internal Market and Consulmer Protection (IMCO), hosted an online experts’ workshop on the upcoming European Digital Services Act.

The discussion gathered French and Italian stakeholders, from academics to representatives of companies and consumers. The aim was to hear their see whether there are convergences in the approach between countries like France and Italy.

The roundtable discussed two main topics: the challenges that digital transition and current legislative framework poses for both businesses and consumers as well as the opportunities and solutions that the proposal on DSA could offer to address these.

The ongoing consultation launched by the European Commission on the Digital Single market closes on 8 September. The initiative report on the DSA will be voted in IMCO on September and in October in Plenary. The Digital Services Act proposal is expected for the end of the year.

The full workshop is available below.

The platform economy provides enormous opportunities to companies and consumers but at the same time poses some challenges The legislative framework designed 20 years ago when digital markets barely existed, does not seem to be fit for the current developments. It is time to design an efficient ex ante regulation for systemic platforms as well as to strengthen online liability for platforms to ensure that what’s illegal offline is illegal online.” stated Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, who was also Rapporteur for the Competition Policy Report.

“We must use the digital transition to turn Europe into a global leader in the field of digital services. For that, we need to urgently demonstrate ambition and courage in opting for flexible and future-proof regulatory choices that strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and consumer protection. It is essential that we guarantee protection for European consumers online. We need to further strengthen the responsibility of online platforms with regard to tackling disinformation and illegal content online. We need to make sure the new rules will foster the development of the Digital Single Market, including by providing regulatory answers to the challenges arising from the potential abuse of dominant position of a small number of online platforms, acting as ‘gate keepers'”, adds Sandro Gozi.

List of participants

  • Marco Bentivogli, Member of Committee on developing strategy to AI to Italian Ministry of Economic Developement
  • Nicolas Brien, CEO, France Digitale
  • Claudio Cappellini, Head of EU affairs, CNA
  • Maryant Fernández Pérez, Senior Digital Policy Officer, BEUC
  • Emmanuelle Flament-Mascaret, Director of Business Affairs and Intellectual Property, AFEP
  • Carolina Lorenzon, Director International Affaires Mediaset Group
  • Cristiano Radaelli, Vice-President Anitec-Assinform

Challenges of the current Digital Services legislative framework

  • Strike a balance between the need to regulate third country tech giants and the need to create European digital champions.
  • Prevent potential abuses of dominant position by systemic platforms acting as gatekeepers by creating barriers to market entry using techniques such as self-preferencing or referring.
  • Update the current legislative framework which, yet not obsolete, is no longer fit for systemic platforms.
  • Stop the proliferation of illegal online content that threatens consumer safety, counterfeiting and the amplification of misinformation.

Required evolutions with the upcoming Digital Services Act package

  • Introduction of targeted ex ante regulation for systemic platforms to avoid the “one-size-fits-all approach” and preserve the existing ecosystem.
  • Adaptation of competition policy tools to the digital age.
  • Establishment of obligations for interoperability and sharing of non-personal data.
  • Establishment of accessible redress mechanisms.
  • A framework that encourages start-ups to scale up to compete with American or Chinese giants.
  • Clarification of definitions in the e-commerce Directive (active/passive hosts; illegal content) and strengthening of the liability regime.
  • Extension of the scope of the E-Commerce Directive to third country suppliers.
  • Creation of a specific liability regime for marketplaces.
  • The Digital Services Act should provide measures to enable a better business environment and tackle unfair practices.