On Tuesday 15 December, the European Commission presented its Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. These two acts will change a lot for all digital service providers (from TakeAway to Apple).

On behalf of the European Parliament, I was rapporteur on one of the initiative reports that preceded the presentation of the legislation. Since then, as ECON shadow rapporteur on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and as co-initiator of the Tracking-free Ads Coalition, I have been closely involved in the handling of the laws. On this page, I update you on my proposals and the process.

What are the Digital Services Act en Digital Markets Act?

Online platforms – such as search engines, social media and e-commerce platforms – play an increasingly important role in our social and economic life. However, the current EU rules on digital services have remained largely unchanged since the adoption of the e-commerce Directive in 2000 and there are major differences in the way the Directive has been implemented across the EU. This is why the European Commission presented the so-called Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act on 15 December 2020. Read more.

Timeline

July 16 2019

On July 19th 2019, shortly after Ursula von der Leyen was elected as president of the European Commission, she presented her political guidelines. One of the main priorities in the digital area: “A new Digital Services Act will upgrade our liability and safety rules for digital platforms, services and products, and complete our Digital Single Market.”.

July 16 2019 - April 6 2020

Following the appointment of the Commissioners, Parliament agreed to write draft reports on the Digital Services Act. Three parliamentary committees IMCO (internal market), LIBE (justice) and JURI (legal affairs) started working on own initiative reports within their committee competences. On top of these three different reports, opinion reports were commissioned by several committees.

I was appointed, on behalf of the LIBE committee, as opinion rapporteur to the IMCO committee.

April 6 2020

On April 6, the European Parliament published my draft report for the Digital Services Act (DSA). Writing a draft report is the very first step for newly appointed rapporteurs. After the publication of the report, the phase in which all political groups are allowed to table amendments begins, including myself as rapporteur.

July 16 2020

On July 16 2020, the LIBE Committee adopted my report with recommendations to the IMCO Committee.

October 20 2020

On October 20 2020, the European Parliament voted on the three main reports of the European Parliament. I negotiated the text of the IMCO Committee’s report on behalf of the LIBE Committee in Parliament. I also influenced the other two reports by the JURI and LIBE Committees by means of amendments. As S&D group we managed to get in a text which calls on the Commission ‘to assess options for regulating targeted advertising, including a phase-out leading to a ban.’

December 15 2020

On Tuesday December 15, Commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Thierry Breton presented their proposals for the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

After publication, the laws were formally sent to the Council of the European Union (‘the Council’) and to the European Parliament.

April 29 2021

The Conference of Presidents (CoP) of the European Parliament made a decision on which committees in the Parliament will have competences on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA). The IMCO-committee is for both laws the lead committee.

The LIBE-committee got permission to draft an opinion report on the DSA (art. 57 Rules of Procedure) and an opinion report (art. 56) on the DMA. The ECON-committee will be drafting an opinion report on the DMA (art. 57).

April 29 - December 14 2021

A report of proposed amendments is prepared by each competent committee in the European Parliament. These reports can be found here: DSA & DMA. The input from all involved committees is brought together by the lead committee (in this case IMCO – Internal Market) into one main report per legislative proposal: DSA & DMA. *

As shadow rapporteur in the ECON committee, as member of the LIBE committee and with colleagues from my political group in the IMCO and ITRE committees, I tabled a large number of amendments to the various reports and sat at the negotiating table. Many of my proposals, such as on tracking and targeting of advertisements, aggressive takeovers, factory settings, interoperability and transparency of algorithms, have made it to the final IMCO texts.

November 25 2021

The Council of the European Union, representing the Member States, agreed on 25 November to the so-called ‘general approach’. Together with the European Parliament, the Council is the co-legislator. This general approach is thus the negotiating basis for the upcoming trilogues.

December 15 2021

During the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Parliament adopted its position on the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Based on this text, parliament will go into negotiations (trilogues) with the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. Read her parliament’s position. With the ECON negotiating team, we tabled several amendments during this plenary session. Some of these amendments made it to parliament’s final position.

January 20 2022

On January 2022, the EU Parliament adopted its final position on the Digital Services Act (DSA). Several amendments were adopted to the original wording proposed by the IMCO-committee. Among those amendments were three amendments I tabled on behalf of the Tracking-free Ads Coalition. Read here Parliamen’ts final position on the DSA.

January 20 - April 22 2022

After the adoption of the parliamentary position on the DMA and DSA, the trilogues began. These negotiations between representatives of the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission largely determine the final legislative text.

On 24 March, an agreement was reached on the DMA. See my reaction here.

On 22 April, an agreement was reached at the DSA. My comments.

This process is complex. First of all, all competent committees appoint an MEP to lead the process as a so-called ‘rapporteur’. This rapporteur is responsible for preparing a draft report. Once this report is presented, as a second step, all other members of that committee are given the opportunity to submit amendments to that draft report.

The third step are the committee negotiations. From each political group, one MEP is appointed as shadow rapporteur. The rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs negotiate in shadow meetings to arrive at a single text. This process can take several months.

Once an agreement has been reached between the rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs, it has to be agreed by the whole committee. It is not uncommon for texts to be amended at this stage and sometimes the text is even referred back to the negotiating table. After the committees agreed to a text, it was formally sent to the IMCO committee, being the lead committee on the DSA & DMA.

A similar process takes place in the IMCO committee itself, but the rapporteurs of the competent committees are also allowed to attend the committee negotiations. It is up to the rapporteur in the lead committee to weigh up all the interests of the various committees and arrive at one final text. The result of the negotiations is then voted on by the entire lead committee. This final text is eventually referred to the plenary session, where all members of parliament meet.

Due to the size and relevance of the DSA & DMA, many committees have been involved. For the DSA, ITRE (industry), JURI (legal affairs) and LIBE (justice) have a ‘high authority’. For the DMA, they are ECON (economic affairs) and ITRE (industry). In addition, numerous other committees have been involved that do draft an opinion report with a lower authority.

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