Brussels, 21 January 2022
RULES REGULATING ONLINE PLATFORMS APPROVED IN PARLIAMENT, TRILOGUES AWAIT
The European Parliament’s position on the Digital Services Act (DSA) was approved with a large majority. The proposal tabled by the Commission in December 2020 will apply to online platforms such as social media and marketplaces when adopted. The Regulation aims to enable transparency, user safety, and platform accountability, by introducing measures to counter illegal products, services, and content online, as well as procedures on removing them. Very large online platforms are expected to be subject to additional obligations, such as due diligence and transparency. Since the Council adopted its position in November, interinstitutional negotiations will begin in the coming weeks.
COMMISSION IDENTIFIES BARRIERS TO ENTRY IN INTERNET OF THINGS SECTOR
The European Commission published its final report on the consumer Internet of Things (IoT) sector inquiry, launched in July 2020. Overall, the inquiry signalled the rapid growth of consumer IoT and the increased availability of voice assistants. However, a number of barriers to entry in the sector were identified, such as the cost of technology investment and difficulties for stakeholders in competing with already well established companies in the sector. The Commission also flagged concerns about access to data, interoperability, and exclusivity practices. The inquiry’s findings will serve as a basis to the Commission’s possible future competition enforcement and regulatory activity.
MACRON DISCUSSES FRENCH COUNCIL PRESIDENCY PRIORITIES IN PARLIAMENT PLENARY
French President Emmanuel Macron outlined in the European Parliament the key objectives for the French Council Presidency. In his speech, Macron stated that the France will particularly prioritise legislative files that improve the quality of employment and reduce the gender wage gap. He also identified climate and digital challenges as other important areas where legislation should advance. The debate with MEPs focused on responses to recent challenges to European security, as well as on the inclusion of gas and nuclear energy in the Taxonomy. Although many MEPs expressed their approval of the Presidency’s priorities, other criticised Macron’s support to label nuclear energy as “green”.
NEW EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY TO SUPPORT EU’S ASYLUM SYSTEM BEGINS WORK
The new European Union Agency for Asylum started its work under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The main objectives of the Agency are to ensure that asylum decisions are taken in a fast and fair way and that reception standards converge across the EU, aiming to achieve more efficient asylum systems. Building on the lessons learnt of its predecessor (the European Asylum Support Office), the EU Agency for Asylum will receive €172 million of EU funds in 2022 and will launch eight operations supporting asylum and reception authorities in EU Member States.
ROBERTA METSOLA ELECTED NEW PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT
Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola was elected President of the European Parliament during this week’s Plenary, becoming the third woman to ever lead the institution. Metsola, the European People Party’s (EPP) candidate, won the election with an absolute majority in the first round of voting. Alice Bah Kuhnke (Greens, SE) came second and Sira Rego (The Left, ES) third. The fourth candidate, Kosma Złotowski (ECR, PL), withdrew before the vote. The new President chose to open her inaugural speech by remembering the late David Sassoli and his legacy. Metsola has been an MEP since 2013 and will lead the European Parliament for the next two and a half years.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab