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Emilija Berzanskaite
26th November 2021
Competition & State Aid Consumer, Health & Environment Data, Tech & IP

Council adopts its position on Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act 

To tackle emerging digital challenges, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in December 2020. Yesterday, the Council agreed its position on the DSA and the DMA, with Member States unanimously supporting the general approach and marking a step towards the creation of a more open, competitive, and safer digital market. 

The DMA proposal aims to ensure a competitive and fair digital sector with a view to promoting innovation, high-quality digital products and services, fair prices, and high quality and choice in the digital sector. The DMA is targeted at gatekeepers who control ‘core platform services’, such as online intermediation services (i.e. marketplaces, app stores), online search engines, social networking, cloud services, advertising services, and more.

The main changes of the Council to the Commission’s DMA proposal are the following:

  • shortening the deadlines and improving the criteria for the designation of gatekeepers
  • defining ‘active end users’ and ‘active business users’
  • clarifying the structure and the scope of obligations 
  • proposing a new obligation that enhances the right of end users to unsubscribe from core platform services
  • improving provisions on regulatory dialogue
  • confirming the Commission as the sole enforcer of the regulation

The DSA proposal aims to keep users safe from illegal goods, content or services, and to protect their fundamental rights online. The proposal follows the principle that what is illegal offline should also be illegal online and defines clear responsibilities and accountability for providers of intermediary services, such as social media and online marketplaces. The DSA proposed rules are designed asymmetrically, which means that larger intermediary services with significant societal impact would be subject to stricter rules.

The main changes of the Council to the Commission’s DSA proposal are the following:

  • clarifying and enhancing provisions on the scope of the DSA
  • explicitly including online search engines
  • providing for enhanced protection of minors online
  • adding obligations for online marketplaces and search engines, as well as stricter rules for very large online platforms 
  • extending the obligation to notify the suspicion of serious criminal offences to all hosting services, not only to online platforms
  • including more detailed provisions on the ‘compliance function’ 
  • allowing national authorities to issue orders regarding illegal content online directly to service providers and imposing an obligation on service providers to keep national authorities informed of their actions (the feedback obligation)
  • conferring exclusive enforcement powers to the Commission

The next step is for the Council to discuss the proposals with the Europan Parliament, which is scheduled in 2022. 

Read the Council’s press release here for the DMA and here for the DSA. 


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