Warsaw, 16th December 2020
Pursuit of technology sovereignty or new protectionism? Discussion on the new direction of European policy-making with particular emphasis on the Digital Services Act
On Tuesday, 15th December 2020, the European Commission’s legislative proposal on the Digital Services Act (hereinafter referred to as “DSA”) was published. Public consultations conducted by the European Commission concerning the shape of future regulations, in which the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers took part, ended on 9th September. Moreover, the European Enterprise Alliance and SME Connect also presented their opinions in this respect.
The event devoted to discussing the technological sovereignty of Europe and DSA was attended by Marianna Sidoroff, Deputy Director of the Digital Economy Department at the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology, who delivered a keynote speech, and Fredrik Erixon, Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, who presented the report entitled “Europe’s Quest for Technology Sovereignty”. Furthermore, the panel discussion was attended by Horst Heitz, Chair of the Steering Committee at SME Connect, Tomasz Snażyk, President of the Startup Poland Foundation, and Michał Kanownik, President of the Management Board of the Association of Importers and Producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment – ZIPSEE “Digital Poland”.
The Digital Services Act aims to regulate the provision of digital services and to create a level playing field for EU companies. Nonetheless, the new EU regulation also has specific consequences for SMEs, especially those in Central and Eastern Europe.
“In our contribution to the consultations, we called for respect for the fundamental principles of the digital single market, such as the home state regulation, known as the country of origin principle. Entrepreneurs need a clear and concise regulatory framework that will not undermine technological development. This applies in particular to companies from the SME sector, whose development is supported by digital platforms,” says Marcin Nowacki, Vice President of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.
It is essential to respect the country of origin principle. In line with its ideals, companies may provide digital services in other member states under the laws of their home country, that is, their country of origin. This rule is especially important for enterprises from the SME sector and from the Central and Eastern European region, as it mitigates the fear of applying foreign law in the event of litigation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of our society at an unprecedented pace. The digital infrastructure has turned out to be fundamental for our society,” says Marianna Sidoroff, Deputy Director of the Electronic Economy Department at the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology, and adds: “The concept of technology sovereignty combines economic strategy with values. We strive to protect the fundamental values of the European Union, while allowing the development of companies in the single market.”
Recently, we have witnessed legislative progress in the field of online content supervision in several member states. Unfortunately, this has also led to discrepancies between national and sometimes even regional and local regulations. Such legal fragmentation hinders the free movement of services and, as a result, the functioning of the single market. Effective regulation in this regard should minimise fragmentation at the national level as well as take into account existing legislation when identifying needs in the context of a sectoral or horizontal approach.
Moreover, the introduction of the ex ante regulation seems very problematic. Internet platforms play a particularly important role in the development of companies from the SME sector. Thanks to them, small and medium-sized companies gained the opportunity to enter the market, expand and develop their operations beyond domestic markets, which had previously been impossible. These facts show that the introduction of a demanding ex ante regulation may have a negative impact on companies from the SME sector, and as a result, might reduce the assortment and offer available to consumers. Therefore, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers believes that the proposed regulations should be based on the currently enforced and legally binding regulations, such as the P2B Regulation.
Fot. François Genon / Unspalsh.com