HomeInsightsCouncil of the European Union agrees position on Digital Services Act

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On 25 November 2021, the Council agreed a general approach for the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), two key legislative initiatives to help create a safe and open digital space for EU citizens and businesses.

The DSA proposal aims to keep EU citizens safe from illegal goods, content or services, and protect their fundamental rights online, following the principle that what is illegal offline should also be illegal online. It also defines clear responsibilities and accountability for social media and online marketplaces, and will, once adopted, provide a modern, future-proof governance framework, the Council says.

The main changes the Council has made to the Commission proposal are to:

  • clarify and enhance the Regulation’s scope;
  • include online search engines;
  • enhance the protection of minors online;
  • add in obligations for online marketplaces and search engines, as well as stricter rules for very large online platforms (VLOPs);
  • extend the obligation to notify the suspicion of serious criminal offences to all hosting services, not just online platforms;
  • add in more detailed provisions on the “compliance function” that VLOPs or very large online search engines (VLOSEs) have to establish in order to monitor compliance;
  • to provide that national authorities can issue orders directly to service providers regarding illegal content online and to include an obligation on service providers to keep national authorities informed of their actions (the feedback obligation); and
  • to preserve the country-of-origin principle and give the European Commission enforcement powers to allow it to deal with systemic infringements committed by VLOPs or VLOSEs.

Agreement on the general approach provides the Council Presidency with a mandate for further discussions with the European Parliament, which are scheduled for 2022. To read the Council’s press release in full and for a link to the text of the Council’s agreed approach, click here.