The Digital Services Act: Brussels is preparing for the new proposal


With the Digital Services Act Package expected before the end of 2020 and the public consultation coming out in March, the topic has been the top choice for events organized in Brussels in the last months, and speculations about the potential content of the proposal are ongoing. This week, Ecommerce Europe attended events on the DSA in order to gain further insights on the public consultation and the expected initiative reports from the European Parliament.

On 3 March, as part of the Mozilla Mornings series, a panel debate on the DSA took place between Prabhat Agarwal, Acting Head of Unit on E-Commerce and Platforms from the European Commission (DG CNECT), MEP Karen Melchior (RE, Denmark), Siada El-Ramly, Director-General of EDiMA, and Owen Bennett, EU Internet Policy Manager at Mozilla. The debate was moderated by EU tech journalist Jennifer Baker.

Prabhat Agarwal explained that the public consultation will be broad and can be expected in the second half of March. It will focus on several themes, including the single market, online safety, liability, online advertising, the need for an oversight authority, and extra themes the Commission still searches feedback on. On the content of the Digital Services Act Package itself, Agarwal confirmed that it will cover:

  • Content moderation issues, including transparency, accountability etc.
  • An ex-ante regulatory framework, focusing for instance on market power, data access and interoperability.

The topic of content moderation was more extensively discussed. Owen Bennet proposed to, instead of outcome-orientated measures, come up with measures focused on processes such as business model differentiation. He added that a one-size-fits- all solution will not work for content moderation. He notably proposed that the measures can constitute self-assessment of the risks incurred by their business model and their impact on society, controlled by an independent regulator.

Next steps

Besides the publication of the public consultation at end of March, three Parliamentary Committees will present an initiative report on the DSA package. The reports will all have a different focus based on the expertise of the respective Committees. A first draft of the Internal Market Committee’s (IMCO) initiative report can be expected on 21 April. For the second  initiative report, proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), the Committee hearing is scheduled between 17 and 19 March, followed by the discussion on the draft report on 21 April. The last  initiative report  is initiated by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). No publication dates have been confirmed for this report.