The implementation of regulation in the digital space, an ambitious new model for Europe

By Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, MEP (Renew Europe Group - France), ECON Committee Member

In December 2020, the European Commission has put forward 2 major texts to regulate the online environment: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). It will ensure a better democratic and economic regulation of the online platforms.

The DSA will update our regulatory environment to reflect the new use of online platforms but also the new dangers such as fraud, counterfeiting, online hate, and disinformation. All these risks not only put consumers at risk but also our democracies.

Now, online platforms will be obliged to be fully transparent about their content moderation techniques, and to commit to acquiring additional resources if deemed necessary by the regulator. Elon Musk can break the news every day but Twitter will have to respect our EU rules!

The DMA will ensure a level playing field online at a time when a handful of companies can set their own rules that enable them to keep their domination, hinder innovation and prevent competitors from accessing the market. This economic regulation is a milestone that will pave the way for other jurisdictions such as the US, China and South Korea. Ensuring a level playing field will contribute to making sure that some small companies but in key sectors for EU sovereignty do not suffer from unfair competition with no means to react again digital giants.

However, DMA and DSA are a first step. Our EU digital regulation is growing and growing with the Data Governance Act, the Data Act and the Intelligence Artificial Act to name a few. We have to make sure that we are not only a continent that regulates but also a continent that delivers and achieve concrete objectives. In order to do that, we must address the issue of implementation with adequate resources, adapted and in sufficient quantity if we want it to be successful. To face Big Tech, we will need to have the expertise, resources and experience. It will be of upmost importance to also rely on the expertise of national authorities to properly monitor markets and implement our regulations while preserving the integrity of the EU single market. That leads me to my second concern, which is the articulation of all these different regulations. We have started nearly from scratch and we are now at the forefront of digital regulation. There is no room for mistakes, we need to quickly deliver.

Our new regulation for digital space will make up for a situation that was unfair and not adapted to our current societies. The European Union must now adopt a policy of active support for its industry, through structuring investments, regulatory flexibility, and an assertive choice of preference for European solutions.

Whereas the US are putting forward the Inflation Reduction Act, Europe must have a clear strategy of public and private support for key sectors and technologies, and invest massively in high-value-added sectors where European leadership remains possible. This is the case of digital technology. In this respect, the rules of public procurement should reflect the challenges of technological autonomy. Public procurement accounts for more than 14% of European GDP and represents a major lever for innovation and autonomy.

Whether it is for the recovery after the pandemic, to fight climate change, to cope with the Russian invasion to Ukraine, to ensure a fair taxation or to set our rules to Big Tech: it is clear that we need a European action. In all these sectors, we are taking Europe out of naivety and embracing a realistic and pragmatic Europe. We have set ourselves ambitious objectives, whether in terms of climate, digital, industrial or trade policy. It is now up to us to use our regulatory toolbox as an asset to achieve them rather than a brake.