Ecommerce Europe’s Director of EU Public Affairs, Mr. Luca Cassetti, joined the Digital Policy Forum on 14 November, organized by its Polish member, the Chamber of Digital Economy. This year’s Digital Economy Forum was a unique opportunity to meet and exchange views between representatives of the public sector, academics and representatives from the e-commerce sector.
In particular, Ecommerce Europe was invited to contribute to the panel discussion on “A European legal framework for online platforms and internet users in the context of the revision of the e-Commerce Directive”, which was moderated by Dr. Dominik Lubasz. Business representatives from Allegro and OLX Poland, and law firms’ representatives also joined the discussion around one of the most important initiatives that is supposed to be put forward by the new European Commission: the Digital Services Act (DSA).
According to the information available so far, the DSA is supposed to update the horizontal regulatory framework for all digital services in the Single Market. This will have an impact on the current European framework established by the e-Commerce Directive (ECD) of 2000. As this topic is high on the agenda of EU institutions, it was an obvious topic of discussion during the European Parliamentary hearing of Thierry Breton, the upcoming Commissioner for the Internal Market, which took place on 14 November.
Although Ecommerce Europe is still developing its position on the review of the e-Commerce Directive, Mr. Cassetti already shared some preliminary thoughts on this issue during the panel discussion in Warsaw. First of all, it seems that the principles established by the ECD still work quite well, despite being a rather ‘old’ Directive. One can guess from Thierry Breton’s speech in the Parliament that the Commission could also agree on this general statement. Breton indeed mentioned that the future text would be an adaptation of the ECD and that he would not touch the limited liability regime established by the legislation. In addition, Breton stated that he was against general monitoring obligations for platforms and that he does not want to change the country of origin principle, again two principles established by the ECD.
At the event, Mr. Cassetti also mentioned that, before proposing new legislation in this field, it is of utmost importance to ensure that the current rules are not fit for purpose anymore. In addition, the Union has, on various occasions, already targeted specific challenges related to the responsibilities of platforms, for instance through the VAT E-commerce Reform, the Copyright Directive, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the Terrorist Content Online Regulation proposal. There is also new legislation that touches other aspects related to platforms, such as transparency and information obligations (i.e. the Platform-to-Business Regulation, the Omnibus Directive). Considering the above, it can be argued that these rules were adopted too recently or are yet to be adopted in order to be able to understand their full effect. Therefore, it would be wiser to wait and have a better and comprehensive picture, when all these new laws will be fully in application, and only then assess if the ECD needs to be updated.
Ecommerce Europe will publish, in the coming weeks, a paper focusing on the review of the e-Commerce Directive, which will be available on our website: www.ecommerce-europe.eu