Q1/2019 - European Union (EU)
Romanian EU Presidency, Brussels, 31 January 2019
At a meeting of the European Internet Foundation (EIF) in Brussels on 30 January 2019, the new Romanian EU Presidency presented its plans for digitalisation and Internet governance. Romania intends to foster the advancement of a European digital single market. Support shall be rendered in particular to small and medium-sized companies, and here above all to start-ups and scale-ups. A main focus during Romanian Presidency will be on education and training, mainly in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). Romania further requests an adequate ethical and legal framework for digital transformation and artificial intelligence. Additionally, it will promote the EU Copyright Directive and the new Regulation on online platforms (Platforms-to-Business Regulation).
At a meeting in Brussels, the four EU commissioners (Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Security Union Julian King and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel) and the three Internet platforms Facebook, Google and Twitter found and stated that progress had been made with the implementation of the Code of Practice against Disinformation that had been agreed in October 2018. The monthly reports of the three Internet platforms show that the path taken with the “Code of Practice” is the right approach. Until the European Parliament elections in May 2019, the main issue will be to find solutions to securely ward off any attempts to manipulate the elections. The procedure now establishing with the monthly reports should be further developed in due course.
The vote of the European Parliament on the reform of EU copyright law caused a major political stir. In particular, Articles 11 and 13 (later 17) were seen by the Internet community as an encroachment on Internet freedom. Opponents feared that the guarantee demanded by the platform operators that no copyrighted material was uploaded would inevitably lead to "overblocking" and new upload filters. The new Directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 25 March 2019. After confirmation by the European Council, the EU member states have 24 months to translate the Directive into national law.