MEPs return from ‘mostly positive’ Silicon Valley talks on DSA and DMA

31 May 2022

Andreas Schwab MEP. Image: EPP Group (CC BY-ND 2.0)

MEP Andreas Schwab said the visit highlighted the importance of restructuring the EU digital economy and that there is strong SME support for an ‘EU-wide level playing field’.

A group of MEPs have returned from their visit to the US after speaking with tech companies such as Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and Uber about the EU’s digital rules.

From 23 to 27 May, a group of eight MEPs went to Silicon Valley to exchange views on the EU’s digital policy agenda, including the recently agreed Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The visit provided an opportunity for the delegation from the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee to get an insight on US legislative work on areas such as e-commerce and platforms.

Speaking about the visit, MEP and delegation leader Andreas Schwab said many US stakeholders welcome the EU’s efforts “and were called on to follow suit”.

“We were able to discuss with some of the largest companies that will be most affected by the DMA-DSA package such as Meta, Google and Apple,” he said. “Their feedback was mostly positive, although we will have to see how compliant or litigious they will be once the DMA and DSA enter into force.”

Schwab said the group also met with “indirect beneficiaries of the legislation”, such as SMEs set to be able to compete on more equal terms with tech giants under the DMA. “Overall, we noted their strong support for an EU-wide level playing field and clear rules.”

The MEP said the mission highlighted that the EU’s “comprehensive restructuring” of the digital economy “was sorely needed”.

“The EU’s efforts to translate the laws of physical economy into the digital sphere will set an example and create a demand in other jurisdictions worldwide,” he added.

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

Big changes for Big Tech

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

The DSA was first proposed in December 2020 along with the DMA, which includes new rules to crack down on anti-competitive behaviour by Big Tech and was agreed on by the EU in March.

These acts follow in the footsteps of GDPR, another watershed piece of EU legislation.

The introduction of new 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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Andreas Schwab MEP. Image: EPP Group via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic