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Ecommerce Europe

25.05.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

Dear Member of Ecommerce Europe,

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 15-05 to 22-05. Please note that yesterday, 21 May, it was a public holiday in Belgium. This is why the weekly policy update is exeptionally released on Tuesday this week.

This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings:

On 23 May, the Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will meet with Mr Jorge Gerraras Gutierrez, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Spain to the EU, and with Mr André Conde Morais, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax.

On 25 May, Ecommerce Europe will attend the event on the entry into application of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), hosted by the European Commission.

Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. 

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views on Tackling Illegal Content Online
On 16 May the EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views with the European Commission on the Recommendation on tackling illegal content online. Irene Roche Laguna from the European Commission stressed that the Recommendation reflected the political need to act against terrorist content. She said that the Commission was monitoring the situation with regard to the self-regulatory measures by platforms and that cooperation between member states and platforms on sharing best practices was ongoing. MEP Dita Charanzova  stressed that in her opinion, a Regulation on notice-and-action was necessary to avoid fragmentation even before the 6 months review by the Commission. MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt added that the legal framework created by the E-commerce Directive was no longer enough, but that she supported the Commission’s line on self-regulation if it produces results. MEP Julia Reda highlighted the risks of deleting legal content without authorities being informed, and also questioned the need for new measures considering there was already a Directive on terrorism that had not been fully implemented. The Commission stressed that more transparency was needed regarding the use of filter, and added that it was still exploring the necessity of a horizontal measure on notice-and-takedown. Ecommerce Europe is currently drafting a response to the online consultation on fighting against illegal content online that will run until 25 June.

The EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views on Promoting fairness and transparency for users of online intermediation services
On 17 May the EP IMCO Committee members exchanged views with the European Commission on its proposal for Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for users of online intermediation services. The EP IMCO Committee will be the lead Committee on the Proposal. The Commission highlighted the main aspects of the Proposal and insisted on the need for a Regulation that would restore a level playing field with clear and transparent rules without interfering with the business model of the platform. MEP Charanzova (ALDE) expressed her concern about this Regulation being an unnecessary burden on SMEs and startups and added that she was not in favor of an ex ante control if market forces and competition law could solve most of the issues raised by the Commission. Her view is that too much transparency could be harmful to both consumers and businesses. The Commission replied that the administrative burdens were limited and that neither the market nor competition law could solve the problems identified by the Commission. It also added that it hoped for an adoption before May 2019.

The Council of the EU published a Presidency discussion paper on the platforms-to-business regulation
On 15 May, the General Secretariat of the Council published a Presidency discussion paper on the Platforms-to-business relations. The document aims at presenting the proposal to National delegations ahead of the policy debate that will take place during the Competitiveness Council on 28 May. It summarizes the Commission’s proposal and presents what it qualifies as the “two-step approach” consisting first in the proposed Regulation - that will ensure enhanced transparency and redress obligations - and followed by an in-depth monitoring effort that will contribute evidence to the review of the proposed Regulation three years after its adoption. The Secretariat asks Delegations to prepare for the upcoming Council by giving their opinion on the need to improve predictability and transparency and on the two-step approach.

The discussions on the Digital Content Directive continue in trilogue
On 16 May, the EP IMCO Committee held a meeting on the Directive on contracts for the supply of digital content. The Rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt reported back to the Committee on the progress made during the trilogue and stated that an agreement had been reached with the Council regarding updates, the definition of prices, the termination of the contract and the implementation deadline that will be of 2 years and 3 months. While the Delegations continue to make progress, several issue remain open, such as the right to compensation (Article 14); IoT/software included in products – where the European Parliament stands firm on its position that software in goods is the same as embedded content; and the level of harmonization, where the Council could consider targeted harmonization. The next trilogue will take place on 18 June.

Commission’s Vice-President Andrus Ansip exchanged views with the EP IMCO Committee on the Digital Single Market
During an exchange of views with the EP IMCO Committee, Vice-President Ansip discussed the Digital Single Market Strategy, Online Platforms and Artificial Intelligence. He stressed that out of the 29 Digital Single Market proposals, only 12 had been completed so far and that progress was unequal depending on the files. MEP Andreas Schwab stressed that he believed there was still a lot to be done on the Commission’s sector inquiry into e-commerce. MEP Nicola Danti also inquired about a possible re-opening of the eCommerce Directive. Andrus Ansip answered that platforms were already liable that it was easy to “kill platforms with over-regulation”. Overall the business-to-platform proposal was well received, but MEPs insisted on the need to ensure European companies were capable of growing.

The European Commission publishes the result of a screening on misleading practices by website selling telecoms services
On 18 May, the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published the results of an EU-wide screening of 207 websites offering fixed/mobile phone, internet, audio and video streaming services. The screening reveals that 163 of these websites could be infringing EU consumer law. Some of the most common issues identified are the advertisement of allegedly free or discounted packages that are in fact a bundled offer, the lack of a dispute resolution system, or the fact that these websites can unilaterally change the terms of the contract without information or justification to the consumer. For more information, you can consult the Q&A and the result of the screening.

The EP ITRE Committee adopted a non-binding resolution on Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains
On 16 May, the EP ITRE Committee adopted a non-binding resolutions calling for the application of blockchain to cut intermediation costs for small firm and ensure that transactions are executed efficiently. The resolution call on the EU Commission to propose a regulatory approach designed to promote different uses of blockchains and other Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) that is innovation-friendly and technology neutral. You can consult the press release for more information.

15.05.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 08-05 to 14-05.

Please note that last week, the European institutions were closed for holiday, therefore no new initiatives nor relevant legislative developments have been registered.

This week, the Ecommerce Europe team will be engaged in the following meetings:

On 16 May, Ecommerce Europe will attend the EuroCommerce’s Payment System Committee to discuss ongoing legislative developments, including PSD2 and the review of the Interchange Fee Regulation;

On 17 May, the Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will meet with Ms Edita Sainickaite, Fiscal Attache of the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU, in order to discuss the position of the e-commerce industry with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax.

Furthermore, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities. 

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

Ecommerce Europe will launch its first joint Workshop with Händlerbund on Digital Taxation and VAT in Berlin
On 20 June, Ecommerce Europe and Händlerbund are organizing a workshop to discuss the plans of the European Union with regard to the taxation of the digital economy and the implementation of the VAT E-commerce Reform adopted in December 2017 by the EU Member States. This workshop is an occasion for participants to ask questions, exchange views and hear from European experts about the practical consequences that the adopted and upcoming EU legislation in the taxation area may have on the daily business of online merchants. This event will be the first of a series of workshops co-organized by Ecommerce Europe and national associations.

Updated translations of the General Data Protection Regulation have been published
A corrigendum of the official translations of the General Data Protection Regulation has also been published to address several mistakes in all EU languages. While the Corrigendum mostly addresses typos and clerical errors, some mistakes might affect the meaning of certain provisions. We therefore advise you to consult the applicable language version for you jurisdiction and not only the English version. For an overview of some correction made to the text, you can consult this article from IAPP.

Ecommerce Europe to meet with Member States representatives on the Digital Tax
In the past days, we have been setting up meetings with the Member States’ Permanent Representations to the EU in charge of negotiating the two proposals on the taxation of the digital economy. The aim will be to present the position and the concerns of the e-commerce sector specifically with regard to the introduction of a Digital Services Tax, which is the short term temporary solution proposed by the European Commission. We will provide members with reports of the meetings we will have with the representatives of the EU Members States.

26.04.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

Dear Members of Ecommerce Europe,

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 17-04 to 23-04.

Tomorrow 24 April, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend an event organized by FEDMA in the Europen Parliament on the Privacy and the Digital Single Market. On 25 April, Public Affairs Advisor Juliette Beaulaton will attend the second edition of the BeCommerce B2B Summit. The BeCommerce B2B Summit is the event for Belgian and European e-commerce executives with a strong interest in innovative B2B online commerce and Artificial Intelligence.

Furthermore, this week Ecommerce Europe will continue working on some follow-up activities related to the last Working Committees held on 12-13 April in Milan.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The European Commission publishes a Communication on the future of the retail sector

On 19 April, the European Commission published a new Communication on a “European Retail Sector fit for the 21st Century”. The Communication lays down best practices for Member States and operators to ensure that the retail sector adapts to the new challenges. The Communication provides best practices to address restrictions in retail affecting market performance, facilitate retail establishment and reduce operational restriction. The document insists particularly on the influence of the development of e-commerce on retail, for example in terms of consumer shopping habits, and on the need to ensure a level playing field between brick and mortar retail and e-commerce to ensure the growth of the retail sector. The Communication also identifies the increasingly blurry boundaries between offline and online. For more information, you can consult the Q&A and the Communication. We will further analyze the implications of this new communication and will provide a more detailed update.

 

The European Commission organizes seminars on Fair Taxation in Member States

On 19 April, the European Commission launched a series of 5 Seminars on Fair Taxation that will take place in different Member states during the summer to discuss the work of the institution on tax abuse, tax avoidance, but also the new Commission’s proposal on the fair taxation of the digital economy. The next seminar will take place in Vienna, Austria, on 17 May. For more information, you can consult DG TAXUD’s website.

 

MEPs highlights the challenges created by digital companies in Competition Policy

On 19 April, the European Parliament adopted its Annual Report on Competition Policy. The report highlights that digital companies constitute specific challenges for competition and fiscal authorities and Members of the European Parliament express their concerns over the use of personal data by tech companies for marketing and super profiling purpose and call for additional resources for the Directorate General for Competition. MEPs also call for a tax on digital companies on the basis of their genuine activity in Member States and to step up efforts to ensure fair competition in the digital sphere.

 

The IMCO Committee of the EU Parliament will discuss important e-commerce related files

Today and tomorrow, the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament will discuss important files related to e-commerce. The Members of the EU Parliament will have an exchange of views with Commissioner Věra Jourová, who will present her views on the latest developments on the two digital contracts proposals (digital content and goods) now under negotiation. Furthermore, she will present the New Deal for Consumers package, which contains two legislative proposals: one horizontal proposal amending four existing acts in the field of consumer and marketing law, and one proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, repealing the Injunctions Directive. There will also be a first exchange of views with MEP Julia Reda on the topic of “tackling illegal content online”. A more detailed report will follow after the 2-day IMCO meeting.

 

Update on interinstitutional negotiations on the Accessibility Act

After the first exploratory trialogue on 5 March 2018, the second round of negotiations on 12 April allowed the three institutions to tackle certain issues of the proposed Directive in more depth, namely: standards and common technical specifications (Articles 13 and 14); fundamental alteration and disproportionate burden (Article 12 and Council’s Annex IV); the structure and overall approach of Annex I as well as the Council’s suggested new Annex Ia. The positions of the co-legislators on all three points were found to be converging and further work was delegated to technical level to finalize the corresponding text. The third trialogue meeting is scheduled for 15 May 2018.

19.04.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 10-04 to 16-04.

On 19 April, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will be a speaker at the E-Commerce Week 2018, organized by UNCTAD in Geneve. Under the theme “Development Dimensions of Digital Platforms”, the E-Commerce Week 2018 will explore the growing role of digital platforms and concrete steps to harnessing these evolving technologies for sustainable development. Furthermore, on 20 April, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend EuroCommerce Working Group to discuss the New Deal For Consumers.

Furthermore, this week the Brussels team will follow up on last week's Working Committee meetings held during the Members Days 2018 in Milan.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The European Commission published its ‘New Deal for Consumers’ Package
On 11 April, the European Commission proposed its Package on “a New Deal for Consumers”, composed of two proposals for Directives and a Communication. The first proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers repeals the Injunctions Directive and aims at improving tools for stopping illegal practices and facilitating redress for consumers where there are widespread infringements of their rights. The second proposal amends EU Consumer Law (in particular four existing directives: the Directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts, the Directive on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers, the Directive concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices and the Directive on consumer rights) and aims at improving the enforcement and modernizing EU consumer legislation in light of market developments, in particular the digital economy, as well as amending EU rules on penalties. The two proposals are accompanied by a Communication on the New Deal for Consumers. For more information, the European Commission published a series of factsheet explaining the changes these proposals will bring for consumers and businesses as well as a Q&A. Ecommerce Europe published a Press release, and is currently drafting a comprehensive position paper on the Package.

The Council of the EU adopted the Parcel Delivery Regulation
On 12 April, the Council of the EU adopted the provisional agreement reached on the Regulation on Cross-border Parcel Delivery with the European Parliament last December. The vote concludes the legislative procedure as the European Parliament adopted the text on 13 March. The regulation will be signed by both institutions and published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication and apply as of 2019.

The Article 29 Working Party published its revised guidelines on Transparency
On 11 April, the Article 29 Working Party published its final Guidelines on transparency under the General Data Protection Regulation. The document is meant as a guidance on the new obligation of transparency concerning the processing of personal data under the GDPR. We are currently assessing the changes made by the WP29 compared to the previous version of the Guidelines and we will get back to you with a more detailed analysis.

The Presidency of the Council published a revised text for the ePrivacy Regulation
Ahead of the Working Party TELE of 19 April, the Bulgarian presidency of the Council published a new revised text of the ePrivacy Regulation.  The Presidency has amended the text to first clarify the link with GDPR. It has also proposed to modify Article 6 to allow processing for purposes of network management and optimization and added new basis for processing for the purpose of statistical counting. The Presidency has also proposed amendments to clarify Article 8 and the protection of end-user’s terminal equipment information. In regards to Article 10 and Privacy settings, the Presidency has proposed to link the information on the settings to ‘every update’, rather than the unclear provision on ‘periodic interval’ from the previous version. On direct marketing, the Presidency maintained its previous changes, proposing to leave Member States to decide, if they so wish, what is the appropriate time limit for using customers' contact details for direct marketing. We will prepare a more detailed update on the amended proposal.

Ecommerce Europe held successful Working Committee Meetings and Board meetings in Milan
On 12 and 13 April, Ecommerce Europe travelled to Milan for its Working Committee meetings and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings. On Thursday 12 April, the Board approved the appointment of two new members, Ms. Lorraine Higgins, CEO of Retail Excellence, and Mr. Janne Koivisto, Senior Advisor of the Finnish Commerce Federation, and the Brussels Team of Ecommerce Europe presented their plans for 2018. The Board of Directors was followed by the meeting of the e-Regulations Working Committee, where members discussed the Commission’s Digital Tax, the package for A New Deal for Consumers and questions related to data protection and e-Privacy. The next morning, members gathered for the Trustmark Working Committee meeting. In the afternoon, members were presented the new format of the e-Payments Working Committee, that will now extend its scope to Fintech and Artificial Intelligence and become the Digital Transactions & Innovation Working Committee.

13.04.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 04-04 to 09-04.

Tomorrow, Ecommerce Europe will attend the Digital Days 2018, an  initiative organized by the European Commission, that brings together ministers, representatives of EU countries, industry, academia and civil society representatives in order to encourage cooperation in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and innovation.

Furthermore, from 11-13 April, the Brussels team will be in Milan for the Members Days 2018, this year kindly hosted by our Italian association Consorzio Netcomm. During the Members Days, Working Committees will be held as well. The Brussels team will update members on the latest legislative developments on e-Regulations and e-Payments, as welll as on the European Ecommerce Trustmark.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The European Commission is gathering data on the Implementation of the Interchange Fee Regulation
The European Commission will publish an Implementation report on the Interchange Fee regulation in September 2019. The Commission’s investigation aims at assessing the consequences of the implementation of the regulation on stakeholders, including merchants and online merchants. It will explore data on increases/decreases in total fees paid by merchants (excluding commercial cards); overall transaction costs for debit, credit & commercial cards; identification and quantification of newly introduced acquiring fees, etc. EuroCommerce is currently gathering views through its Survey on the Interchange Fee Regulation. The results will be instrumental in providing the Commission precise inputs on merchants’ experience with the Regulation. We therefore invite you to share the online survey with your members and ask them to participate. The current deadline for the EuroCommerce Survey is 20 April 2018.

Eurostat published the results of its study on e-Commerce
Eurostat published the result of its survey on the Digital Economy & Society in the EU. The chapter on e-commerce focuses both on people ordering goods and services online and businesses selling electronically. Eurostat concluded from its survey that e-shopping was on the rise in all age group but most notably for younger internet users. Eurostat also found out that the majority of e-shoppers (69 %) in the EU had not experienced any problems when ordering or buying online during the year prior to the 2017 survey. Those who identified problems mentioned delay in delivery and websites crashing.

The European Commission published a Policy brief on the Coty Judgement
The European Commission published a Competition Policy brief on EU competition rules and marketplace after the Coty Judgement (06/12/2017). The aim of this policy brief is to follow-up on the Report in relation to marketplace bans and to provide stakeholders with the view of DG Competition in the light of the Coty judgment. The Commission summarized the decision of the European Court of Justice, which held that marketplace restrictions taking the form of selective distribution systems could comply with EU Competition rules under certain criteria clarified in the judgement. The Commission added that it agreed and welcomed the interpretation of the ECJ, and that in DG Competition's view, marketplace bans did not amount to a hardcore restriction.

Ecommerce Europe goes to Milan for its Members Days and Working Committees meetings
On 12 and 13 April, Ecommerce Europe will be organizing its Working Committees in Milan to discuss ongoing and upcoming regulatory developments in the EU. The e-Regulations Working Committee will cover a broad range of pressing issues, including the new Commission’s proposal on the taxation of the digital economy, as well as the upcoming package ‘New Deal for Consumers’ and the Proposal on online intermediation services and search engines. During the e-Payments Working Committee, members will discuss the implementation status of the Payment Services Directive, the new Fintech Action Plans and the Commission’s plans on Artificial Intelligence.

05.04.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 26-03 to 03-04. Please note that this week, the weekly policy update is exeptionally issued on Tuesday due to the Easter break.

 

This week, the Brussels team is active in the finalization of the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan next week, from 11-13 April.

 

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

 

 A draft of the Proposal for a Directive on collective redress was leaked in the press

The Draft Proposal is part of the upcoming package New Deal for Consumers. It aims at modernizing and replacing the current Injunctions Directive, by creating new rules on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. We are currently analyzing the leaked draft and we will prepare a more detailed update on the content of the Proposal.

 

The Council continues its negotiations on the ePrivacy Regulation

On 28 March, the Working Party TELE discussed the Presidency’s revised proposal for the ePrivacy Regulation. In its last Discussion Paper, the Presidency proposed amendments to Article 8 (Protection of end-users terminal equipment information), Article 10 (Privacy settings) and Article 16 (direct marketing communication). Considering the importance of those articles for the e-commerce sector, Ecommerce Europe requested a meeting with the Bulgarian Presidency to further discuss our views. However, considering their lack of availabilities, they could not grant us a face-to-face meeting. During the upcoming e-Regulations Working Committee that will take place on 12 April, members will discuss the position of the association in light of the new amendments on the above-mentioned articles. The Brussels Team will then prepare a new position paper to be sent out to all Permanent Representations in view of future negotiations.

 

Trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive are moving forward

On 27 March, the Rapporteur for the Digital Content Directive MEP Evelyne Gebhardt reported back to the EP JURI Committee on the progress made during trialogues. She stated that negotiations had gone well, and that progress had been made on the question of updates and on the protection of data. The issues of the inclusion of embedded digital content in the scope and the level of harmonization are still open for discussion. Despite the differences of opinion on these two topics, the Rapporteur believes that an agreement could be reached before the end of the Bulgarian Presidency, which means before the end of June 2018.

 

Ecommerce Europe sent its feedback on the Inception Impact Assessment on Illegal content online

On Friday 30 March, Ecommerce Europe sent its feedback on the European Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment on illegal content online.

 

EU Commission launched “Consumer Law Ready” program for SMEs

The European Commission has recently launched a portal, called “Consumer Law Ready”, which is a specialist training program for people in SMEs. It is supposed to help SMEs understand and comply with the latest EU Consumer Laws. There are dedicated Consumer Law Ready portals for every country in the European Union. The training enables to gain knowledge of the important aspects of Consumer Law, which will help improving customer service and increase consumer trust. The portal is accessible at: https://www.consumerlawready.eu/. We invite you to share this link with your company members.

Trialogues on the Accessibility Act

The first trialogue meeting on the Accessibility Act was held on 5 March. While reporting back to the EP IMCO Committee, the Rapporteur on the file - MEP Løkkegaard - stated that the Council and the European Parliament outlined their position on key issues, such as the scope, accessibility requirements, operating systems and self-service terminals, as well as the exception for microenterprises. At a recent event on accessibility, a representative from the European Commission stressed that the three institutions have not the same position on the scope of directive. The next trialogue meeting will take place on 12 April.

 

Regulation on Portability of online content now applicable in all EU

As of 1 April 2018, the Regulation on the Portability of online content is applicable in all EU Member States. This Regulation aimed at ensure that Europeans can access content that they bought or subscribed to - such as films, e-book, music - when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country. Ecommerce Europe was not involved with this Regulation as it was not a priority for our members. However, you can find more information in the European Commission’s factsheet.

29.03.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 20-03 to 26-03.

Tomorrow 26 March, Ecommerce Europe will attend the API Evaluation Group. The group aims at evaluating standardized API specifications in order to help ensure that those standards are compliant with the requirements of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and meet the needs of all market participants. Furthermore, Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend the Amazon Academy event. This time, the meeting will focus on accessibility and in particular on the latest accessibility innovation for customers.

On 29 March, Ecommerce Europe will welcome a delegation from Morocco for an informal discussion on the European legislation in the e-commerce sector and the role of the association in elaborating public affairs strategies to stimulate regional and cross-border e-commerce.

Finally, the Brussels team will continue the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April.

 

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The European Commission published two proposals on the taxation of digital business activities in the EU
On 21 March, the European Commission published two proposals for new rules for the taxation of digital business activities in the EU. The first proposed Directive aims to reform corporate tax rules so that profits are registered and taxed where businesses have significant interaction with users through digital channels. This forms the Commission's preferred long-term solution, while the second proposal responds to calls from several Member States for an “interim tax” which covers the main digital activities that currently escape tax altogether in the EU. The legislative proposals will be submitted to the Council of the EU for adoption (unanimity is needed) and to the European Parliament for consultation. The EU will also continue to actively contribute to the global discussions on digital taxation within the G20/OECD, and push for ambitious international solutions. Ecommerce Europe sent a letter to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to share our preliminary opinion on 5 March.

EU Commissioner Moscovici replied to our letter on the Digital Services Tax
Last Friday afternoon, one day after the publication of the European Commission’s proposals, Ecommerce Europe received a letter from Pierre Moscovici - the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs - in reply to the letter that we sent to the President of the Commission. In the letter, it is clearly mentioned that any discussion about the specific content of the proposals can only take place once such legislative acts have been adopted (which happened on 21 March), and that is why our concerns are not specifically addressed by the Commissioner. Nevertheless, the letter clearly shows that the Commission’s intention to work with us on this project. Ecommerce Europe is currently analyzing the content of both proposals, which will be presented at the next meeting of the e-Regulations Working Committee on 12 April in Milan.

The New Deal for Consumers Package has leaked
One of the proposals of the upcoming New Deal for Consumers Package has leaked. The draft directiveconcerns the targeted amendments the Commission wishes to propose to modify the Consumer Rights Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the Price Indication Directive. The proposal aims at creating more effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for widespread  cross-border infringements, by allowing national authorities to impose fine of at least 4% of the trader’s turnover for widespread infringements. It also envisages that consumers should have the right to individual remedies. The proposal aims at bringing more transparency for consumers in online marketplaces, by creating additional information requirements, including information about the criteria for ranking, the entity with which the contract is concluded as well whether consumer protection legislation applies. As expected, the proposal also removes two specific obligations regarding the right of withdrawal: the obligation to accept this right even where a consumer has made actual use of an ordered good and reimbursing before receiving. A new point has been added compared to what was previously announced by the European Commission, concerning the extension of the Consumer Rights Directive to digital services for which consumers provide personal data instead of paying with money. The Commission considers that consumers should have the same rights to pre-contractual information and to cancel within 14 days right of withdrawal period.

The Bulgarian Presidency published a new discussion paper on the ePrivacy Regulation
Ahead of the Working Party TELE meeting on 28 March, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council published a new Presidency discussion paper which includes a revised text of the ePrivacy proposal, focusing on Article 8,10, 15 and 16 and related recitals. The Presidency is also seeking comments article 18 to 29 to pursue the discussion in upcoming Working Party TELE meetings. Specifically on Article 10 on Privacy settings, the Presidency has proposed to amend it: the provision now requires information to be provided to the end-user about the possibility to choose a setting, without however prompting the end-user to agree with the settings upon installation or first usage of the browser. The Presidency has also proposed to include periodic reminders about the privacy settings. The Presidency has also amended the Article 16 on Direct marketing communication: a new paragraph allows Member States to set a time limit for using customers' contact details for direct marketing. To address concerns that online advertising would be captured by the provisions on direct marketing, the new text of Article 16 explicitly excludes advertisements on websites that are displayed to the general public and do not require end-users' contact details.

The discussions on the Digital Content Directive continue in trialogues
On 21 March, the Rapporteur for the Proposal for a Directive on Contracts for the supply of digital content, MEP Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, DE) reported back to the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament about the outcome of last trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive. The MEP mentioned that an agreement has been found on most of the issues, but that three questions remain open for discussion: software embedded in goods, the degree of harmonization regarding guarantee period, and the question of data protection. You can find more information in the article that we published today on our website.

Ecommerce Europe attended a European Commission’s Expert Group on GDPR
On 20 March, Léon Mölenberg - Senior Policy Advisor for Ecommerce Europe - attended the 2nd meeting of the European Commission’s Expert Group to support the application of the General Data Protection Regulation. The Commission presented an overview of the implementation, stressing that while only 3 countries had already implemented the new rules, most countries should be ready by 25 May. The Commission mentioned that it was not planning on proposing delegated acts on the GDPR for the moment. Participants asked the Commission if it would be possible to obtain an overview of all the parts of the regulation where member States are allowed to go further, and the Commission assured that it will deliver this document as soon as possible. Regarding raising awareness among citizens and SMEs, the Commission asked participants to share again their guidance website, which now includes documents in 22 languages and a lists of National Data Protection Authorities. The Commission welcomes feedbacks on the toolkits from companies.

European Commission published extensive Q&A on the Geo-blocking Regulation
For a better understanding of the Regulation on Geo-blocking, which will apply as of 3 December 2018, the European Commission has recently published some material that is supposed to facilitate compliance. Please feel free to share it with your members, especially the extensive Q&A document. This document is provided by the Commission services for information purposes only. It does not contain any authoritative interpretation of the Geo-blocking Regulation and it does not constitute a decision or position of the Commission. The Commission published the full text of the Regulation, the Extensive Q&A document on the Geo-blocking Regulation as well as the 10 Key Features of the Geo-blocking Regulation.

The European Commission publishes a Notice regarding the Geo-blocking Regulation after Brexit
The European Commission published a Notice to Stakeholders regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and the EU legislation in the field of geo-blocking. According to the document, as of the withdrawal date, natural persons residing in the United Kingdom (unless they have a nationality of a Member State) or undertakings established in the United Kingdom will not be able to benefit from Regulation. For traders, considering the Geo-blocking Regulation applies to all traders operating within the EU, regardless of whether those traders are established in the EU or in a third country, will continue to be bound by the rules established by the Regulation.

22.03.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 13-03 to 19-03.

Tomorrow 20 March, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend the 2nd meeting of the Multistakeholder expert group to support the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Among the topics on the agenda, the state of play in relation to the the entry into application of the GDPR and awareness-raising activities towards business and citizens related to the application of the GDPR.

Furthermore, this week the Brussels team will continue the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April.

 

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

New leaked draft of the upcoming Regulation on platforms
Ecommerce Europe received a new leaked version of the upcoming draft Proposal for a Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services and online search engines in the Digital Single Market. Compared to the previous version we analyzed, the scope has been extended to include online search engines and comparison websites. There has been some modification concerning Ranking, with a new section on online search engines and additional safeguards regarding protecting trade secrets. The European Commission also added precision to the article on Access to data and the article on Internal complaint-handling system. The text will still likely be modified before the expected publication of the official text, expected on 25 April.

New leaked draft of the Proposal for a Directive on the Digital Service Tax and OECD Interim Report on “Tax Challenges arising from Digitalization”
Ecommerce Europe received the leaked Directive on the Digital Services Tax (DST), which is expected to be published by the European Commission on 21 March. We are currently evaluating if our concerns have been addressed in this new version. To request a copy of the leaked document, please contact Luca Cassetti (lucacassetti@ecommerce-europe.eu). On the same topic, on Friday 16 March, the OECD held a webinar to present their 2018 Interim Report on “Tax Challenges arising from Digitalization”. During the presentation of the Interim Report, the Task Force on the Digital Economy of the OECD stressed that there was no consensus on the need for, or merit of, interim measures, and that therefore the report did not recommend their introduction. The OECD is aiming at proposing a consensus-based solution by 2020. You can find the full report and a summary of the report online.

Ecommerce Europe gathered more information on the package New Deal for Consumers
Ecommerce Europe has gathered additional details on the upcoming package New Deal for Consumers, which is supposed to be published by the European Commission on 11 April 2018. The package will include measures on penalties and changes to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, including the introduction by Member States of penalties for the violations of the consumer law and remedies for individual consumers for breaches of the UCPD. The package will also include changes to the Consumer Rights Directive, such as to the Right to withdrawal and the introduction of transparency rules for marketplaces, as well as introduce new measures on collective redress.

European Parliament adopted the Parcel Delivery Regulation
On 13 March, the European Parliament’s plenary adopted the interinstitutional agreement on the Regulation for cross-border parcel delivery services. The text now needs the endorsement of the Council of the EU and will become fully applicable in 2019. For more information, you can consult the European Parliament’s press release and you can find the final text of the Regulation here.

European Parliament adopted two resolutions on Corporate Tax Base
On 15 March, Members of the Parliament adopted two resolutions on the “Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base” and the “Common Corporate Tax Base”, aiming at creating a single EU corporate tax regime and harmonized corporate tax system. The resolutions introduce the concept of ‘Digital presence’ and invite the Commission to prepare and set out benchmarks which would help identify whether a firm has a “digital presence” within an EU Member State and is therefore liable for tax on the territory.

European Banking Authority published its roadmap on Fintech
On 15 March, the EBA published its roadmap on Fintech, setting out its priorities for 2018-2019 and focusing on monitoring the regulatory perimeter, including assessing current authorization and licensing approaches to FinTech firms; monitoring emerging trends and analyzing the impact on incumbent institutions' business models; promoting best supervisory practices on assessing cybersecurity and promoting a common cyber threat testing framework and addressing consumer issues arising from FinTech and identifying and assessing money laundering/terrorist financing risks.

Regulatory Technical Standards on Strong Customer Authentication have been published in the EU Official Journal
The Regulatory Technical Standards on ‘strong customer authentication and common and secure open standards of communication’ have been published in the EU Official Journal On 13 March. The Regulatory Technical Standards will apply in September 2019.

16.03.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 06-03 to 12-03.

This week, the Brussels team will start the preparation of the upcoming Working Committees meetings that will take place in Milan from 11-13 April. As usual, the team will keep performing public affairs and lobbying activities.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

EU Commission President Juncker replies to Ecommerce Europe’s letter on the fair taxation of the digital economy
The President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, thanked Ecommerce Europe for the letter we sent him on 5 March 2018 in relation to the Commission's ongoing preparation of a measure for the fair and effective taxation of the digital economy and its potential negative impact on EU merchants. The Head of Cabinet, Ms. Clara Martinez Alberola, confirmed that the President has taken note of the content of the letter with attention and that the Member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Mr. Pierre Moscovici, is looking into the points we have raised and will respond to us rapidly.

The Bulgarian Presidency published a revised text of the ePrivacy Regulation
Ahead of the next Working Party TELE meeting on 13 March, the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU published a revised text. The Presidency proposed amendments regarding the link to GDPR, ancillary services, machine-to-machine communication and consent. The Presidency also amended the article 1(3) to delete the phrase 'electronic communications' to signal that the ePrivacy regulation does not deal only with personal data that are electronic communications data but also with other types of personal data. The Presidency proposed elements for consideration regarding future discussion on permitted processing of metadata. The text reveals that some delegations expressed interest in exploring the option to expand the permitted processing of electronic communications metadata and the legality of such option. However, some delegations were satisfied with the current solutions, and a few others favored the introduction of legitimate interest in line with the GDPR.

The European Commission published its Action Plan on Fintech
On 8 March, the European Commission published its Action plan on Fintech that includes a series of initiatives aiming at supporting innovative business models to scale up, encourage the uptake of new technologies in the financial sector and increase cybersecurity. Based on the conclusion of the public consultation that ended in June 2017, the European Commission believes that the case for ‘broad legislative or regulatory action or reform at EU level’ on FinTech issues is limited, but that a number of targeted initiatives are warranted. The Commission plans, among other things, to report on challenges and opportunity of crypto assets later this year, and will work on comprehensive strategy on distributed ledger economy and blockchain. For more information, you can consult the Commission’s press releaseand the Action Plan.

EuroCommerce published a FAQ on the Geo-blocking Regulation
On 2 March, the Geo-blocking Regulation has been officially published in the Official Journal of the EU and will be applicable as of 3 December 2018. You can consult the official text here. During the past weeks, EuroCommerce gathered feedback from its members in order to developed a FAQ explaining the key rules applicable to the sector and giving concrete example to facilitate compliance. You are invited to send the FAQ document to your members as well.

The European Commission launched its internal inter-service consultation for the draft package New Deal for Consumers
On 5 March, the European Commission launched its internal inter-service consultation for the draft package New Deal for Consumers. The Commission aims at publishing the package on 11 April. According to the latest information we received, the package could include penalties for breaches of consumer law, individual remedies, restriction of commercial activity, a clarification of the right of withdrawal and collective redress.

  

The European Commission launched a call for experts for a group on liability and new technologies
On 9 March, the European Commission launched a call for expert for a group on liability and new technologies. The main tasks of the Expert Group will be to provide the Commission with expertise on the applicability of the Product Liability Directive to traditional products, new technologies and new societal challenges (Product Liability Directive formation) and, in light of an assessment of the existing liability schemes, assist the Commission in developing principles that can serve as guidelines for possible adaptations of applicable laws at EU and national level relating to new technologies (New Technologies formation). For more information, you can consult the press release. The deadline for application in 30 April 2018.

  

The European Commission launched a call for a High-level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence
On 9 March, the European Commission launched a call to apply for a High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence. The general objective of the group shall be to support the implementation of the European strategy on AI. This will include the elaboration of recommendations on future AI-related policy development and on ethical, legal and societal issues related to AI, including socio-economic challenges. Ecommerce Europe will assess the need to submit an application. For more information, you can consult the Commission’s open call. The deadline for application is 9 April.

 

The European Parliament Research services have published a report on “The collaborative economy and taxation”
The European Parliament Research services prepared a report addressed to Members and staff of the European Parliament on taxing the value created in the collaborative economy. This report will likely feed the discussion on the upcoming proposal on the Fair taxation of the digital economy that is expected to be published on 21 March. For more information, you can consult the report.

The European Commission published it 2017 Report on the Rapid Alert System
The European Commission published it 2017 report on the Rapid Alert System. The report shows that in 2017, the Rapid Alert System was increasingly used by national authorities with more than 2,000 alerts on dangerous products circulated through the system. For more information, you can consult the report.

08.03.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 27-02 to 05-03.

This week, the Brussels team will be attending some events and conferences. In particular, on 6 March, Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will be a panelist in the Public Policy Exchange's conference on "Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU: Preserving Consumers’ Rights in the Digital Society". The discussion will focus, among other topics, on:

  • The latest developments concerning the European legislative framework on consumer protection;
  • How to better enforce consumer protection laws,
  • Solutions for efficient and effective remedies against consumer rights infringements and
  • New ways to integrate consumer interests into the Digital Space.

Furthermore, on 6 March, Communications Officer Laura Contin will be attending a conference in the European Parliament on "Women & Digital Jobs in Europe" that will focus on digital transformations and gender equality.

As usual, the Brussels team will continue performing public affairs and lobbying activities.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

Ecommerce Europe writes to Commission President Juncker after seeing a leaked Commission text on the fair taxation of the digital economy
The news site Reuters published on 27 February a leaked version of the Commission partial draft on the Taxation of Digital Activities. The draft outlines proposals both for a long-term, comprehensive solution, and interim targeted solutions. The interim measure - supposed to apply while a comprehensive solution is negotiated - proposes the creation of a tax that would apply to companies with revenues above 750 million euros worldwide and with EU digital revenues of at least 10 million euros a year. The levy would be calculated on the “aggregated gross revenues” of a business and should have a single EU rate “in the region of 1-5 percent.” The scope includes firms selling user-targeted online ads, such as Google, or providing advertisement space on the internet, as well as digital marketplaces such as Amazon and gig economy giants. The proposal in expected to be published on 21 March, thus the text can still be modified.
Before preparing a comprehensive position paper on the question of Fair Taxation of the Digital Economy, based on further consultations with the members once the proposal will be published, Ecommerce Europe drafted a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as an immediate and urgent action on the most worrying aspect of the leaked draft. In fact, based on the information we have and the preliminary analysis made by the Taxation and VAT Working Group of Ecommerce Europe, the Digital Services Tax (“DST”) that the Commission is preparing may have a direct detrimental effect on European merchants. The letter is specifically focusing on the fact that the tax would increase the cost base of European merchants compared to Chinese merchants, and the EU merchants would be at a cost disadvantage. The letter also indicates that we are considering different solutions and approaches with regard to the DST and its scope, to maintain some flexibility to further define our position once the proposal will be published. The letter was sent this afternoon.

European Commission published the results of its public consultation on Fair Taxation of the Digital Economy
The European Commission has recently published the outcome of its public consultation on the Fair Taxation of the Digital Economy. Respondents overwhelmingly agree on the need for action regarding current international rules for taxation of the digital economy. The survey shows the majority of stakeholders favours an international discussion and believes short-term solutions should be adopted until long-term measures are agreed upon. The results also show that respondents fear the adoption of uncoordinated measures by member states, that would lead to the fragmentation of the Single Market. You can find more information in TP Week’s article and consult the outcome on the Commission’s website for additional insights.

ECIPE published a report on “Digital Companies and Their Fair Share of Taxes: Myths and Misconceptions”
In view of the upcoming Commission’s proposal, the European Center for International Political Economy published a paper on “Digital Companies and Their Fair Share of Taxes: Myths and Misconceptions”. The paper provides a critical assessment of the underlying reasoning of the European Commission and those EU governments that currently are in favor of targeted taxes on digital revenues. The report outlines the risks of target tax on digital revenues, that “not only stand in opposition to tax efficiency and neutrality; [but] would also undermine digitalization, European integration, and the Digital Single Market”. 

European Commission published its Recommendation on the removal of illegal content
The European Commission published On 2 March a Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online, proposing operational measures to ensure faster detection and removal of illegal content online, to reinforce the cooperation between companies, trusted flaggers and law enforcement authorities, and to increase transparency and safeguards for citizens. The proposal, originally designed to tackle terrorist content, will also apply to counterfeit products and copyright infringements. The recommendations will apply to all companies regardless of their size, and the Commission encourages the creation of voluntary arrangements to foster cooperation, exchange of best practices and technological solutions, to benefit smaller platforms. For more information, you can consult the Commission’s fact sheet.

European Commission published an Inception Impact Assessment on Illegal Content removal and opened a public consultation on the topic
In line with the publication of its Recommendation, the Commission published on 2 March an Inception Impact Assessment on “Measures to further improve the effectiveness of the fight against illegal content”. The Inception Impact Assessment presents different options to tackle illegal content, such as sector-specific legislation(s) on certain types of illegal content, or horizontal legislation addressing targeted issues such as harmonization of notice and action procedures or measures related to proactive actions. The open consultation will run until 30 March. Ecommerce Europe will evaluate the need for a response. The consultation can be found here.

The European Commission opened a public consultation on the exchange of data to combat VAT fraud in the e-commerce
On 27 February, the Commission launched a public consultation on the “Exchange of data to combat VAT fraud in the e-commerce”. This consultation aims at collecting different stakeholders opinion on the problem of VAT fraud in the field of e-commerce; on whether the current EU legal framework to fight VAT fraud provides the tax authorities in EU countries with the proper tools to fight VAT fraud in the field of e-commerce; whether a EU harmonized approach could provide for better tools to tax authorities as well as on the impact of the different policy options in terms of fighting fraud, regulatory costs and individuals rights. Ecommerce Europe will evaluate if there is a need for a joint response. You can consult the webpage of the consultation for more information and to contribute, if you wish.

EP IMCO Committee adopted its Report on the Sales of Goods Directive
On 22 February, the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee adopted the Report on the amended Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods (Sales of Goods Directive), drafted by MEP Pascal Arimont. The Committee also adopted the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations as soon as the Council will adopt its position on the Directive. The report is available here.

Geo-blocking Regulation published on the EU Official Journal
The Geo-blocking Regulation was published on the EU Official Journal on 2 March. It will therefore apply as of 3 December 2018. You can consult the official text here.

A group of trade associations and platforms sent a letter to Commissioner Vestagger in regards to Google’s remedy following an infringement of EU competition law
Following the Commission’s decision to fine Google for abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service in June 2017, a group of online platforms, associations and web shop have written a letter to the Commission for Competition, Margrethe Vestagger to complain about the remedy proposed by Google, which in their opinion continues to harm competition, consumers and innovation. You can consult the joint letter for additional information, as well as the case file of the Commission against Google search.

1.03.2018 - Podsumowanie tygodnia

For an overview of the latest e-commerce related news from Brussels, please have a look at the attachment: Ecommerce Europe Monitoring 20-02 to 26-02.

This week, the Brussels team will be attending several events and conferences. On 27 February:

Director of Public Affairs Luca Cassetti will attend the GS1 Global Forum marketplace networking event where he will exchange views with delegated from around the world on best practices in the world of e-commerce.

Public Affairs Advisor on e-Payments Pascal König will speak at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He will be a speaker in the panel on "The possibilities brought by PSD2: an open API economy accelerator".

Senior Policy Advisor Léon Mölenberg will attend the EuroCommerce Internal Market Working Committee where the discussion will focus on the New Deal for Consumers, the latest updates on geo-blocking and the digital contracts proposals.

Juliette Beaulaton will attend the 2nd Annual Conference on ‘Fintech and Digital Innovation: Regulation at the European level and beyond’. On the agenda, the role of artificial intelligence in financial services, the place for standard setting in Fintech, and how new technologies such as RegTech can contribute to the effective compliance and enforcement of financial services regulation.

On 1 March, Ecommerce Europe will welcome the members of the e-Regulations Working Committee for a Working Group on VAT and taxation (upon invitation only).

As usual, the Brussels team will continue performing public affairs activities.

Please see below the policy highlights of the past week:

The EP IMCO Committee adopted its Report on the Sales of Goods Directive
On 22 February, the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee adopted the Report on the amended Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods (Sales of Goods Directive), drafted by MEP Pascal Arimont. The Committee also adopted the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations as soon as the Council will adopt its position on the Directive. The Report shows that the IMCO Committee clearly took into considerations some of our recommendations, which were shared also by other industry/business associations, with a few differences. Unfortunately, for some other elements, the Report fails in achieving a high degree of harmonization and does not clarify the scope of the Directive. Ecommerce Europe is now focusing is lobbying activities on the representative of the Member States, in view of the definition of the position of the Council. The Report is not yet available, but you can consult the European Parliament’s Press release and/or contact Luca Cassetti (lucacassetti@ecommerce-europe.eu) for additional information.

Ecommerce Europe shared recommendations with the EP IMCO Committee Members in view of the vote on the Report on the Sales of Goods Directive
On 20 February, Ecommerce Europe sent an e-mail to the Members of the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee in view of the vote on the Draft Report of MEP Pascal Arimont on the Sales of Goods Directive, scheduled for tomorrow morning, to share our recommendations and concerns. We called on policymakers to support a fully harmonized approach for this directive, namely full harmonization of the legal guarantee period at 2 years all over the EU, and an alignment of rules for the sale of goods and the supply of digital content. As other EU industry associations, we also mentioned that 1 year for the reversal of the burden of proof would be a reasonable compromise and that commercial guarantees should remain a voluntary tool for producers.

The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council made public a new Discussion paper on the ePrivacy Regulation
The Bulgarian presidency published the Discussion paper that was examined during the Working Party TELE on 12 February. The Presidency discussion paper concerns Articles 2 (excluding some activities falling outside the scope of the e-Privacy Regulation) and article 11 (allowing the EU and Member States, under certain conditions, to restrict the rights and obligations provided in the ePrivacy regulation by means of legislative measures) of the proposal for a Regulation. The purpose of the discussion paper was to clarify the scope and link between article 2 and 11 as well as the list of general public interests referred to in Article 11(1) of the proposal. It sought delegations’ opinion on several options to pursue the discussion.

 The Council of the EU will approve the informal agreement on the Geo-blocking Regulation tomorrow
The Council will adopt the final version of the Geo-blocking Regulation during the General Affairs Council tomorrow morning. As the European Parliament already adopted the text on 7 February, it will now enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will apply as from nine months after the publication. You can find here tomorrow’s Council of the EU agenda.

The trialogue negotiations on the Digital Content Directive move ahead despite remaining disagreements
On 21 February, the EP IMCO Rapporteur Evelyn Gebhardt reported back to the EP IMCO Committee on the last trialogue on the Digital Content Directive. The negotiations are moving smoothly on most of the issues, and the Rapporteur is still hoping to reach an informal agreement by mid-2018. However, negotiators are still having difficulties in reaching a compromise on several points, including the harmonization of the period for the reversal of the burden of proof and the extension of the scope to embedded digital content. MEP Gebhardt added that the European Parliament will continue to push for full harmonization as a key objective of the Directive. The next trialogue will take place on 6 March.

The EP JURI Committee held a hearing on Collective Redress
On 21 February, the EP JURI Committee invited the European Commission as well as representatives from BEUC and Business Europe to discuss the work of the Commission on collective redress so far and the upcoming revision of the Injunctions Directive. The Commission is exploring the idea of extending the scope, since consumer interests are protected not only by consumer law, but also by legislations in other areas, including energy, environment, telecom, financial services. Concerning the level of harmonization, the Commission wants to take into account the legal culture of each Member States, so it will try to introduce flexible instruments to ensure relevant safeguard, while maintaining Member States’ freedom to keep their collective redress mechanisms.