Another month has passed. Another round of communications has been released. 


We now have the Working Programme of the new European Commission, while work on classics such as TERREG and hate speech (nationally) continues. 

This and previous reports on Meta-Wiki:



Drumroll? Eyeroll… The Commission has been sharing its Working Programme (see a very final draft [1] and the communication [2]). Some new aspects below. 


Artificial Intelligence will be regulated… somehow.  Von der Leyen’s team is not giving up on getting some sort of AI rules out quickly. They now want to propose legislation by the end of the year. There will be a White Paper (non-legislative consideration document by the Commission) in February and then some sort of stakeholder consultation and an impact assessment. The aim is to have something proposed by the end of 2020. Issues in the categories of product safety, liability, fundamental rights and data will be reviewed. Some eyebrows were raised after the Commission dropped its idea to introduce a general, temporary ban on facial recognition in public spaces. Several Member States complained that they actually would like to test the technology on the field. 


A Data Act for 2021 the Commission seems to be mulling of a new set of data rules. The focus seems to be on business-to-government and business-to-business activities and the accompanying legal liability of data use.There is some talk of an “enhanced portability right,” however, details are to scarce tos hare. 



While Brussels is waiting for the European Commission to present a proposal that has every chance to become the most controversial dossier of 9th Parliamentary term, the MEPs at Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) decided to have their own Initiative Report on the matter. Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MK) has been appointed as the main rapporteur. The shadows are so far: Pablo Arias Echeverría (EPP, Spain) Dita Charanzová (Renew Europe, CZ), Alexandra Geese (Greens, DE). The ensemble will be busy well into the summer, until the Committee vote in July. The Plenary vote is planned for September.

Rumor has it Legal Affairs Committee will also have and initiative report on DSA. Some names made known for rapporteurship include two newbies: Karen Melchior (Renew Europe, DK) and Patrick Breyer (Greens, DE); and a more seasoned but quite silent on digital issues – at least during the copyright debates - József Szájer (EPP, HU).



While the Commission is plotting… eh, planning, national governments are busy trying to regulate hate speech. 


Berlin is working on re-hashing its Netzwerkdurchsetunggesetz [3][4]. It is an act aimed at limiting agitation and fake news on social media mainly by shifting more responsibility on such platform providers. It hasn’t worked well since its introduction. It seems like the German government will try to make sure users can easily find and access mechanisms how to report illegal content. Also on board: Stronger transparency requirements and some sort of rules on companies using artificial intelligence technologies son platforms. This is still being drafted. 


France is in the meanwhile continuing to work on its Hate Speech law [5], despite being asked by the Commission to postpone it until European regulation kicks in. Paris wants to require Google and Facebook to remove flagged hate speech within 24 hours.The law shall no longer cover material related to sexual harassment and human trafficking. Wikimedia France has, together with other civil society groups, opposed the project. [6]



Now that the Croatian Presidency took over until the end of June, it demonstrates exactly the same attitude as its predecessor: to be done with the Trilogues on this important file before its EU-reign ends. We’ll see about that - the previous round did not even produce a first compromise draft to complain about. The schedule is also tight and busy: 4 technical meetings followed by the Trilogue on March 18. Does Zagreb ambitiously plan to close the deal on that day? Regardless if that is reasonable expectation or not, intense lobbying weeks are ahead.



We are doing it… again :)


The dates of the 7th (!) annual gathering of EU policy enthusiasts have been picked: March 21-22. The title is Life After Copyright, and if you need any leads, the contents of this newsletter can provide some. Please indicate your presence now on Meta-Wiki [7] and drop me a line if you need travel help.