The French Presidency seeks to obtain a revised mandate from other EU countries ahead of the upcoming political trilogue on the Digital Services Act (DSA), according to internal documents seen by EURACTIV.
The next high-level meeting between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament will be on 31 March, as requested by the French Presidency in the last trilogue. According to a flash circulated on Monday (21 March), the French government aims to get the mandate at COREPER, the meeting with EU ambassadors, the day before the meeting.
“We are all very confused because the French are not so transparent. We are afraid that they will try something with the Parliament that we don’t want,” an EU diplomat told EURACTIV, stressing that several member states said they want to stick to the general approach.
The new mandate would be limited to the first three chapters of the legislative proposal, namely on the scope of the regulation, the liability provisions for the providers of intermediary services and the due diligence obligations.
The Presidency is asking for a revised mandate based on proposals already discussed internally for most of the articles at hand (Art. 1, 1a, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 19, 20, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 30a, 33, 34, 36, 37).
Minor changes are mentioned on the provisions on the points of contacts (Art. 10) and the statement of reasons (Art. 15)- information the platforms will have to provide when taking measures affecting user-generated content.
The rules on the platform’s terms and conditions (Art. 12) were also tweaked to oblige platforms to include the rules of procedure of their internal complaint handling systems.
Changes to the transparency and reporting obligations (Art. 13) were also added, notably references on time taken to carry out specific actions and the type of training received by the people in charge of content moderation.
The article on the notice and action mechanisms (Art. 14) and its related parts in the text’s preamble were heavily redrafted and better aligned with the Council’s position, the annexe continues.
The Presidency wants to revert to the original mandate on articles regarding the notification of suspicious criminal offences (Art. 15a), the exclusion for micro and small enterprises (Art. 16), and the internal complaint-handling system (Art.17).
Additionally, the Presidency pushes to accept a Commission’s compromise text on the out-of-court dispute settlement while adding some clarification text.
Significant changes were applied to the part on online marketplaces (Art. 22, 24a, 24b, 24c). The Presidency proposed to delete the provisions requesting marketplaces to check dangerous products against relevant databases, to inform the relevant authorities that the distribution of an illegal product has been suspended or compile a dataset of removed products and services.
For risk assessments (Art. 26), the Presidency proposed adding, “this risk assessment shall be specific to their services and proportionate to the systemic risks, considering their severity and probability.”
The article on very large search engines (Art.33a) remains the same as the Council’s general approach.
The articles 4, 9a 19a, 23, 24b, 35 have not been included as there is no compromise text yet because they have “not been discussed yet in detailed with the European Parliament.”
Last week, EURACTIV reported a new text on dark patterns (Art. 23a), which is not included in the revised mandate. However, the annexe explains that based on the feedback received from the other countries last week, the French Presidency will circulate a new compromise “based on the upcoming compromise proposal by the Commission’s services.”
The Parliament is sensitive towards its provisions against dark patterns, techniques of manipulation that make users do something against their will. Left-to-centre MEPs did not receive the compromise text well, EURACTIV has learned.
The European Commission prepared a compromise text on the recommender system (Art 29) and their transparency obligations (Art. 24), and the French Presidency drafted a new proposal on data access and scrutiny measures. Still, these articles are not included in the new mandate.
Moreover, the EU executive presented proposals on the fees mechanism for very large online platforms and search engines, the adaptation of the DSA to the disinformation related to the Ukrainian crisis, and random checks conducted by online marketplaces.
[Edited by Alice Taylor]