MEPs to meet Big Tech in the US to discuss new digital rules

20 May 2022

MEP Andreas Schwab at an EPP group meeting. Image: EPP (CC BY-ND 2.0)

MEPs plan to get an insight into digital market advances in the US and exchange views on upcoming EU legislation that is expected to create big changes for Big Tech.

A group of MEPs will be in the US this month to speak with tech companies such as Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and Uber.

The meetings have been arranged to exchange views on the EU’s digital policy agenda such as the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

An Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee delegation will be in Silicon Valley from 23 to 27 May, during which time the MEPs will speak with tech companies, local authorities and academic groups. Eight MEPs will be part of the delegation, which will be led by Andreas Schwab.

The EU delegation plans to check out the latest digital market advances in the US. Areas they will focus on include the development and use of e-commerce, AI, consumer protection, online platforms and the gig economy.

The visit will provide an opportunity for the delegation to get an insight on US legislative work on e-commerce and platforms. It will also allow both sides to share their views on the DSA and the DMA.

The delegation plans to use this visit to support the committee’s ongoing work on the digital single market and consumer protection.

Landmark legislation

Last month, an agreement was reached among EU lawmakers on the Digital Services Act, a piece of legislation which demands tech companies take control of content moderation.

The DSA was first proposed in December 2020 along with the Digital Markets Act, another landmark piece of legislation that was agreed by the EU in March. These acts follow in the footsteps of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), another watershed piece of EU legislation.

This digital legislation could have a knock-on effect across the Atlantic, as happened with the implementation of GDPR. There are legislators in the US who have been calling for tighter regulation of online platforms, and other prominent figures who support such measures.

Last month, former US president Barack Obama spoke of the need for regulation to tackle disinformation while former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was cheering the DSA over the line.

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MEP Andreas Schwab at an EPP group meeting. Image: EPP via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic