Digital Services Act: Time to end the Digital ‘Wild West’ says Arba Kokalari

EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur says that by providing clear rules, the Digital Services Act can deliver a regulated, business-friendly environment that will encourage digital growth
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By Arba Kokalari

Arba Kokalari (SE, EPP) is shadow rapporteur for the Digital Services Act

20 Jan 2022

By adopting its position on the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal, the European Parliament has sent a clear signal: we want a digital single market with clear rules, strong consumer protection and a business-friendly environment. The DSA will put an end to the digital ‘wild west’, where the large online platforms set their own rules and criminal content goes viral.

The digital sector is key to economic growth, improving citizen’s quality of life and achieving Europe’s climate goals. Yet unfortunately, Europe is lagging behind in the global digital race. The DSA is a crucial step in ensuring that European digital companies can reach new customers more easily and compete internationally. At the same time, it will lead to more-effective removal of illegal content, increased transparency for consumers and strengthen the rights of users who have been mistreated by the big platforms. 

As the EPP Group Shadow Rapporteur in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, my aim was to achieve a balanced and horizontal regulation that harmonises the EU Digital Single Market and protects consumers from illegal content, while still enabling an open, diverse and innovative digital landscape.

“The DSA is a crucial step in ensuring that European digital companies can reach new customers more easily and compete internationally”

In the negotiations, I have spoken against overregulation, which I believe could hamper freedom of speech and overburden businesses with bureaucracy. At the same time, I have fought for effective measures against illegal content, which will allow consumers to feel safer when using services online. The compromise adopted by the European Parliament reflects these priorities well. 

Throughout the process, it has been clear that the DSA has attracted a lot of interest from different stakeholders. Many have been pushing to introduce new elements to the digital market, such as legislation on advertising, media content and copyright. While there are currently many problems in the digital world, the DSA cannot solve them all.

The DSA is a horizontal, technology-neutral regulation with a long-term aim of avoiding fragmentation of the digital single market. Specific rules for certain types of content or services are better suited in sectoral legislation, otherwise we risk ending up with a Regulation that will be unworkable and quickly outdated. In light of this, I welcome that most of the problematic amendments put forward for the plenary vote did not achieve a majority. 

I now look forward to starting the trilogues, where hopefully the compromise can be improved even further. This is our chance, as European lawmakers, to create a more innovative, competitive and safe European digital market. 

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