Powerful but Divided: The EU Parliamentarians Who Influence Digital and Telecommunication Policy

We are in the midst of the digital revolution. Individuals, businesses and policy makers alike are scrambling to make sense of the challenges and opportunities that new technologies create. It’s complicated to regulate an ecosystem that is so dynamic, complex, and fresh – although some think that it’s necessary.

European institutions have been making efforts to protect citizens and give everyone a fair chance to benefit from the digital expansion. Continue Reading

EU deputies support the creation of a Digital Single Market

On Tuesday 19 January 2016, MEPs adopted a series of recommendations to boost the 16 Digital market initiatives launched by the Commission in May 2015. European Parliamentarians have pushed for a rapid adoption of the project.

The motion was approved by 551 to 88 with 39 abstentions on 678 presents. The majority in favor of the resolution included the Christian democrats, the Socialists, the Greens, the Liberals and the Conservatives. The radical left group abstained. The Eurosceptics and the Nationalists opposed the text. 90% of MEPs voted along political groups’ lines.

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Bienkowska: Single Market Initiative 2015 will grow the economy. She will have to convince some leftist factions in the European Parliament

by Monika Golaszewska & Doru P. Frantescu

On Wednesday, October 28th, the Commission has launched a single market plan, which aims at unleashing its full potential and creating new opportunities in the global economy.

Commissioner for the internal Market, Elzbieta Bienkowska, has started her public diplomacy campaign by saying that she is very enthusiastic about the new opportunities for innovation and she “fell in love” with the single market while working on new strategies of its upgrading. “EU is the biggest market in the world, with 500 million consumers, but we have not realized its full potential” stressed Bienkowska. She sees the main problems in the barriers and protectionist measures, which hold back the entrepreneurs. The Commission has been working on a new approach to industrial competitiveness, to build an open and efficiently functioning product and service market. Continue Reading

How will MEPs shape EU copyright law?

By Doru Frantescu, Director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe 

Last review: 19 June 2015.

This article discusses how the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are likely to shape the new EU copyright laws. We show that the conflict within the society between those who consume and those who create digital content has been transposed in the European Parliament in the struggle between the political forces on the classical left-right axis. We predict that the “pro open content camp” will gain the upper hand and will push for a softening of the regime of copyright throughout the EU, such as the abolition of geo-blocking and territoriality principle. We map the MEPs’ positions by ideology and country and show that, while the ideology is the main predictor of an MEP’s vote, the country of origin also plays a role (e.g. the French Members of the Socialist group have a position more in favour of protection of cultural property than the rest of their group colleagues, while the British Labour are more in favour of free market and protection of property in general, compared to their continental colleagues). 

On 9 June, the report drafted by the Chair of the Legal Affair Committee Pavel Svoboda (EPP – PL) on Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement was voted during the EP plenary session in Strasburg and was approved (with 529 votes in favour and 143 against).

On 17 June, the report drafted by the German Pirate Party’s Julia Reda proposing major changes to copyright laws in the EU has been adopted by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee (JURI) after it spent several hours voting on 550 amendments. (23 votes in favour, 2 against). The report will now be voted on by the full European Parliament on July 9, where more amendments could be made. The final text will then be sent to the European Commission, which will use it as input for a legislative proposal on copyright reform, expected to appear by the end of the year.

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In May, the European Commission put forward the long-awaited guidelines for a digital strategy. The Pandora’s Box is now open and the Commission will take on board reactions from various segments of the society and politicians.

While there is a large consensus that going digital is the way forward, some of the areas have raised a high level of controversy. Perhaps chief among these is the approach to copyright, on which the Commission has announced plans to follow up with legislation before the end of 2015. Intellectual property seems to be one of the most hotly debated areas and which lines up impressive lobby efforts on both sides of the reform. Continue Reading

November 2014 EP plenary Newsletter: Motion of Censure, EU-Canada PNR deal, Digital Single Market, and more

In this edition:

1. Juncker Commission easily survives its first big test in the EP
2. The EU-Canada PNR agreement sent to ECJ by the left, ALDE, eurosceptics
3. Large EP majority pushed through a stronger stance on the post-2015 development agenda
4. EPP, S&D, ECR requested Commission’s diligence in settling search engines market
5. EPP, ALDE, Greens/EFA voted to strengthen ECB’s authority to impose sanctions

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