Nine European policy initiatives for the tech sector in December 2020
by Angeliki Tsanta on 02 Dec 2020
The European Commission will launch several ambitious policy and legislative initiatives in December 2020, to deliver on its political priorities for this legislative term. In this briefing, we outline nine initiatives that will affect the tech sector.
1. Digitalisation of Justice Systems: Building on the October 2020 ‘Council Conclusions: access to justice – seizing the opportunities of digitalisation’, the European Commission adopted a package of initiatives to modernise the EU justice systems; implement digital tools in judicial proceedings; enhance digital skills among professionals in the field; and introduce safeguards to ensure judicial independence and respect for fundamental rights. A legislative proposal to ensure the long-term sustainability of e-CODEX, an IT system for cross border judicial cooperation, was also published.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, presented the Commission Communication for the Digitalisation of Justice Systems on 2 December 2020.
2. Media and Audiovisual Action Plan: The plan will address the competitiveness and pluralism of the audiovisual sector and the media. It will promote the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), and ensure the use of EU financial programmes and instruments to support the media and audiovisual sectors in their digital transformation.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Vice-President Věra Jourová are due to present the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan on 3 December 2020.
3. Strategy for the Implementation of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights sets out the civil, political, economic, and social rights of EU citizens, which must be respected and recognised by EU institutions and Member States. Ten years after the Charter became a primary instrument of EU law, findings published by the European Commission and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights have shown that it is not being used to its full potential in Member States, while the majority of EU citizens are not aware of their rights under the Charter. To improve the application of the Charter, raise awareness among citizens and ensure its effective use, the Commission will present a new revised Strategy to ‘make sure the Charter delivers for all’.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová is due to present the Strategy for the Implementation of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights on 3 December 2020.
4. European Democracy Action Plan: The plan includes measures to ensure citizens participate in the democratic system and protect European democracy from external interference and manipulation. These measures will address the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, and will be structured in three main pillars: (1) Electoral integrity and political advertising; (2) Strengthening media freedom and media pluralism; and (3) Tackling disinformation.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová is due to present the European Democracy Action Plan on 3 December 2020.
5. Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy: The strategy will be ‘a roadmap towards the mobility of the future’. It will set out high-level objectives and key areas for policy actions. These include increasing the uptake of zero-emission vehicles; making sustainable alternative solutions available to the public and businesses; supporting digitalisation and automation; and improving connectivity and access. It will include an action plan with measures the Commission will take to ensure that the EU transport sector is fit for a clean, digital and modern economy.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans is due to present the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy on 9 December 2020.
6. The Digital Services Act Package: The package will revise the legal framework for digital services and address the challenges created by new services, technologies and online business models. This initiative will include rules on online content and introduce legally binding responsibilities for digital service providers to address the risks faced by their users and to protect their rights. Separately, the Commission will propose ex-ante rules for large online platforms acting as gatekeepers in their respective markets.
Executive Vice-President and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is currently due to present the Digital Services Act Package on 15 December 2020.
7. Cybersecurity Strategy: This strategy will set out the EU’s approach to cybersecurity as a policy priority in the coming years. It will outline the EU’s objectives and identify key actions on areas such as infrastructure resilience, response capacity, enhanced cooperation of all relevant EU and Member State actors, common standards, and cybersecurity by design. This horizontal approach will be complemented by sector-specific measures in areas such as energy, financial services, transport, and health.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles are due to present the Cybersecurity Strategy on 15 December 2020.
8. Review of the Directive on the Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS): The NIS Directive, which entered into force in 2016, aimed to enhance the resilience of European networks and information systems against cybersecurity risks. The Commission will report its findings on the functioning of this Directive, based on its evaluation, an open public consultation and impact assessment, and might adapt the current framework to address existing and emerging issues.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Vice-President Margaritis Schinas are due to present the Commission’s proposal for the review of the Directive on the Security of Network and Information Systems on 15 December 2020.
9. Proposal for Additional Critical Infrastructure Protection Measures: The Commission will adapt the EU framework better to protect critical infrastructures and build new tools to support their resilience through a legislative proposal. The initiative aims to ensure greater coherence in the EU approach; to include all relevant sectors providing essential services; to secure the resilience of national infrastructures and to improve information exchange and cooperation.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas is due to present the Commission’s proposal for additional critical infrastructure protection measures on 15 December 2020.
Written by Angeliki Tsanta
Angeliki provides policy analysis and monitoring for clients in the emerging technology sector on the regulation of online platforms, data protection and cybersecurity.