Digital Services Act: key dates postponed

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On 2 April, the European Parliament published an adapted parliamentary calendar for the year 2020. In the coming months, only one-day plenary sessions will take place and extra time has been made available for remote meetings of governing bodies, committees and groups of the European Parliament.

With the new calendar, the Parliamentary Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) also published its new timetable, from which it becomes clear, that the key dates for the IMCO Committee’s Initiative (INI) Report on the Digital Services Act (DSA) have been moved up.

The Maltese Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Alex Agius Saliba, Rapporteur for the IMCO INI Report on the DSA, has mentioned in a recent interview that his report will focus mainly on the e-Commerce Directive. In addition, he stated that online marketplaces should have “know your client” obligations and that there is a need for new European and national regulators. The vote in the IMCO Committee on the INI Report has been postponed from July to September. According  to the new IMCO calendar, the draft initiative report will be discussed by MEPs on 4 May, and the deadline for amendments has been pushed to 14 May. Alex Agius Saliba also added that the IMCO Committee wants the Commission to define what “expeditious” removal of content means. For instance, if this would constitute some sort of time limit.

On 2 April, the Parliamentary Committee for Transport and Tourism (TRAN) has issued its Draft Opinion on the IMCO INI Report on the DSA. The opinion calls for a clarification on the definition of an information society service. It also refers the access to data, working conditions for platform workers and liability for transport and tourism platforms. Interestingly, the opinion highlights the need for online platforms in Transport and Tourism to promote sustainability, also in line with the European Green Deal.

Furthermore, on 6 April, the Parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) published its Draft Opinion on the IMCO INI Report. The opinion underlines that digital services need to fully respect fundamental rights, that strong privacy legislation is required and calls on the Commission to incorporate in the Digital Services Act an obligation to always give users of digital services an alternative for using biometrical data for the functioning of a service. The LIBE Committee will also publish its own initiative report later this year.

The European Commission’s public consultation on the Digital Services Act, originally planned to be published at the end of March, has also been delayed. Although the consultation is technically ready to be published, it still needs the political approval of the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton. Even though the Commission has not notified any official delays yet, the DSA package as a whole might also be slightly delayed.

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