Insights European Parliament adopts Committee’s amendments to the proposal for Regulation on transparency and targeting of political advertising


Following the adoption by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of amendments to the EU Commission’s proposed draft law regulating the transparency and targeting of political advertising (as reported last week), the EU Parliament has now adopted the text, meaning that talks can begin between the EU Parliament and the Council. The aim is to agree a text in time for the 2024 European elections.

Under the proposal, only personal data explicitly provided for online political advertising can be used by advert providers. Micro-targeting, a strategy that uses consumer data and demographics to identify the interests of specific individuals, will therefore not be possible. There will also be a blanket ban on using minors’ data.

As for foreign interference, the text proposes that non-EU based entities be banned from financing political advertisements in the EU. The location of the ultimate controller of the entity will be considered to determine where it is established.

The proposal also ensures that citizens, authorities and journalists have easy access to information on political advertisement, including via an online repository where all online political advertisements and related data are stored. It will be easier to obtain information on who is financing an advert, its cost, and the origin of the financing. Other information that will be published includes whether an advertisement has been suspended for violating the rules, the specific groups of individuals targeted and what personal data were used, as well as the views and engagement of the public with the ad. MEPs aim to give journalists a specific right to obtain such information.

The legislation would also bring in penalties for repeated violations and an obligation on large ad providers to suspend their services for 15 days with a particular client in the event of serious and systemic infringements. The Commission would be able to introduce EU-wide minimum sanctions.

The adopted text also strengthens the powers of national authorities and allows the European Data Protection Board to take over an investigation into an infringement and enforce the rules. To read the EU Parliament’s press release in full, click here.