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Qualified majority voting in foreign and security policy: Pros and Cons

Written by Tania Latici,

© assetseller / Adobe Stock

In her first State of the Union speech, and in the section of the speech most applauded by the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in areas such as sanctions and human rights. The crises and security challenges accumulating in and around the European Union have added to the urgency of having a more effective and rapid decision-making process in areas pertaining to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The core encumbrance against unanimous EU agreement on foreign policy is argued to be the absence of a common strategic culture among EU Member States.

The Lisbon Treaty’s architects have equipped the EU Treaties with ‘passerelle clauses’ – provisions usually aimed at modifying the decision-making of the Council of the EU. The passerelle clause for CFSP is Article 31(3) of the Treaty on European Union, which empowers the European Council to, by unanimous agreement, allow the Council of the EU to take decisions by QMV in some areas of the CFSP. Another option is an emergency brake – cancelling a vote for vital reasons of national policy – while constructive abstention is an option which allows a Member State to abstain from a unanimous vote without blocking it.

Since 2016, the EU has witnessed growing momentum to shape its identity as a security provider and peace promoter. From 2020 and until 2022, it is undertaking a strategic reflection process taking the form of a ‘strategic compass’, whereby the threats, challenges and objectives for the Union in security and defence will be better defined. It is in this context that the debate about QMV in foreign and security policy has resurfaced and continues to be the subject of policy discussions. Nevertheless, recent efforts to innovate in the EU’s methods for adopting sanctions in the field of human rights abuses (the European Magnitsky Act) have been unsuccessful in their attempt to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Qualified majority voting in foreign and security policy: Pros and Cons‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Figure 1 – The pros and cons of QMV in foreign and security policy

Figure 1 – The pros and cons of QMV in foreign and security policy

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/20/qualified-majority-voting-in-foreign-and-security-policy-pros-and-cons/

Brexit: The EU-UK trade deal [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Europe map with waiting trucks - Brexit / border control/ customs check / 3d-illustration

© brainwashed 4 you / Adobe Stock

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a last-minute deal on trade and other issues on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding major disruption from 1 January 2021, the date on which the transition period ended. However, many politicians and experts have noted that the agreement does not cover all areas of potential partnership, as well as leaving some issues ambiguous, so there is much potential for complex further negotiations in the future. In practice, the EU-UK trading relationship has been further complicated, at least in the short term, by the effects of the coronavirus crisis and a recent upsurge in infections in the United Kingdom.

This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on Brexit and related issues. More studies on the topic can be found in a previous item from this series, published in September 2020.

Brexit brief
Institute of International and European Affairs, January 2021

The great Brexit heist
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2021

The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement 2020
Senior European Experts Group, January 2021

How Britain and the EU could cooperate on defence after Brexit
European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2020

How UK-EU trade cooperation can survive Brexit
European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2020

Warming relations: UK-EU climate cooperation after Brexit
European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2020

What’s in the EU-UK Brexit deal?
Council on Foreign Relations, December 2020

Ten reflections on a sovereignty-first Brexit
Centre for European Reform, December 2020

Brexit trade deal means ‘freedom’, but at a cost: The arguments will be far from over
Centre for European Reform, December 2020

Navigating accidental illegality
Centre for European Reform, November 2020

Post-Brexit foreign, security and defence co-operation: We don’t want to talk about it
Centre for European Reform, November 2020

The Brexit trade deal is no frictionless uncoupling
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2020

Brexit, le malheur de rompre
Institut français des relations internationales, December 2020

Breaking up is hard to do: Royaume-Uni et Union européenne après le Brexit
Institut français des relations internationales, December 2020

A deal is done: What happens now?
UK in a Changing Europe, December 2020

Is Brexit war finally over?
UK in a Changing Europe, December 2020

Brexit is not done: This deal is no ‘game, set and match’
UK in a Changing Europe, December 2020

What the Brexit deal means for Northern Ireland
UK in a Changing Europe, December 2020

UK manufacturing welcomes the deal in as far as it goes
UK in a Changing Europe, December 2020

Boris Johnson’s brinkmanship: To the cliff edge or beyond?
European Policy Studies, December 2020

China and Brexit drive the UK’s ‘tilt’ to Indo-Pacific
Chatham House, November 2020

Brexit and coronavirus: Economic impacts and policy response
Institute for Government, December 2020

The Brexit deal is the latest case of the government’s disregard for parliamentary scrutiny
Institute for Government, December 2020

The New Year does not mean that Brexit is old news
Institute for Government, December 2020

The Brexit deal is about taking back control rather than ‘exact same benefits’
Institute for Government, December 2020

Partnerships for the future of UK foreign policy
Foreign Policy Centre, December 2020

Le Brexit pourrait-il mener à la fin du Royaume-Uni?
Egmont, December 2020

Parliament should have a meaningful vote on the EU trade deal. But it doesn’t
Foreign Policy Centre, December 2020

Partnerships for the future of UK foreign policy
Foreign Policy Centre, December 2020

Brexit: Adieu or Au revoir?
Friends of Europe, December 2020

European security after Brexit
Institut des relations internationales et stratégiques, December 2020

Brexit, the area of freedom, security, and justice and migration
Istituto Affari Internazionali, December 2020

Devolution in the UK and the combined challenges of pandemic and Brexit
Polish Institute of International Affairs, December 2020

The UK’s European question is far from over
Scottish Centre for European Relations, December 2020

Where next for Scotland and Brexit: Four challenges
Scottish Centre for European Relations, November 2020

Read this briefing on ‘Brexit: The EU-UK trade deal‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/20/brexit-the-eu-uk-trade-deal-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

After the storming of the US Capitol: A second impeachment trial of President Trump?

Written by Matthew Parry,

© Daniel Thornberg / Adobe Stock

At 13.00 EST on 6 January 2021, the 117th United States Congress and US Vice-President Mike Pence assembled in the Capitol Building, seat of the US Congress in Washington, DC, to tally the electoral votes certified by the 50 states and the District of Columbia, thereby declaring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, respectively, US President-elect and Vice-President-elect. The ceremony was interrupted when an angry mob, seemingly encouraged by President Donald Trump in a speech earlier that day, broke into the Capitol and forced the Vice-President and Members of Congress to shelter in fear for their lives, while the intruders clashed with Capitol security and vandalised and stole property. Later that day, the combined forces of the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Guard were able to evict the protesters and secure the building, allowing the Vice-President and Congress to re‑assemble and complete the ceremony.

The invasion of the Capitol, a symbol of US democracy, has had dramatic political consequences. Trump has now been impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time − the only US President in history to be so. Democratic Party leaders had already appealed, the day after the intrusion, to Vice‑President Pence to use the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the US Constitution to replace Trump against his will before the end of his term on 20 January. The US Senate appears set to conduct an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office, but it is not certain that it has the authority to do so, or what the trial’s legal or political outcome will be.

This Briefing considers some of the options that Congress had to deprive President Trump of power immediately after 6 January, and the options that remain after Joe Biden becomes President on 20 January 2021.

Read the complete briefing on ‘After the storming of the US Capitol: A second impeachment trial of President Trump?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/20/after-the-storming-of-the-us-capitol-a-second-impeachment-trial-of-president-trump/

Understanding EU action against migrant smuggling

Written by Katrien Luyten,

Migrant smuggling, illegal entry concept. 3D rendering

© alexlmx / Adobe Stock

Around 90 % of those who cross the external European Union (EU) borders illegally do so with the assistance of migrant smugglers. Furthermore, the facilitation of irregular migration is a highly profitable criminal activity, in particular when compared with the relatively low risks incurred. Even though detections of illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest level since 2013, the migrant smuggling business shows sustained high levels of demand.

This demand is not only due to the fact that people in severe distress – whether for economic reasons or because of a genuine fear for their lives – keep trying to reach the EU, by irregular means if necessary. Demand is also high because illegally crossing borders has become harder, due to increased external border controls and other measures put in place to prevent irregular migration. This is where migrant smuggling networks step in.

Migrant smugglers are among some of the most agile criminals. They go to great lengths in order not to get caught, quickly adapting the routes they use to smuggle migrants into the EU and their means of travel. They avoid direct contact with their victims, instead using the latest digital communication technologies and involving different intermediaries along a migrant’s journey. The facilitation of irregular migration is a complex crime, interconnected with many other criminal activities, such as document fraud, trafficking in human beings or other types of illicit smuggling.

Although people willingly pay smugglers to help them cross borders, they do so at great personal risk. Too many lose their lives, or are at risk of serious harm or exploitation. Therefore, preventing and combatting migrant smuggling and related crimes is one of the key priorities of the EU’s action against irregular migration and organised crime. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for more and better operational cooperation, data sharing and legal migration channels, and insisted on better implementation of relevant EU legislation.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Understanding EU action against migrant smuggling‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Figure 1 – Migration routes and illegal crossings to the EU

Figure 1 – Migration routes and illegal crossings to the EU

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/20/understanding-eu-action-against-migrant-smuggling/

How coronavirus infected sport

Written by Ivana Katsarova,

Social distancing icon sport.People running.Keep Safe Distance to protect from COVID-19 coronavirus concept.

© Preeyanuch / Adobe Stock

Nearly a year after its initial outbreak, the deadly strain of the coronavirus, Covid-19, is still raging across the world and the sports ecosystem has not been spared. Whilst countries’ responses have varied widely, the global response prompted the almost total shutdown of competitions at all levels, including multiple postponements of mega sports events such as the Olympic Games and the European Football Championship. Estimates show that nearly a million sports-related jobs have been impacted in the EU, not only for sports professionals but also for those in related retail and sporting services such as travel, tourism, infrastructure, transportation, catering and media broadcasting, to name but a few. Additionally, Covid-related measures are estimated to have caused the loss of some €50 million in GDP across the EU-27.

The results of a 2020 survey among European national Olympic committees show that over 93 % have had to significantly review their work-related practices, and over two thirds (67 %) reported their elite athletes were unable to use training facilities. While larger clubs in major sports are likely to have the financial resources to cope with a temporary loss of income, the same is not true for grassroots sports facilities that rely on self-employed coaches and volunteers and face a greater risk of shutting down.

Even though its role in the area of sport is limited to ‘soft’ policy instruments, the EU has responded promptly to limit the spread of the virus and help EU countries to withstand its social and economic impact. In addition to the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the CRII+, both approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU in record time, the European Commission has set up a temporary framework allowing EU countries to derogate from State aid rules, and proposed a European instrument for temporary support (SURE) to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep their players and fans engaged, traditional sports have had to adapt their models by blurring the lines between traditional sports and Esports. However, research reveals that Covid-19-related restrictions have only increased the appeal of outdoor activities and made initiatives such as the European Week of Sport more necessary than ever.

Read the complete briefing on ‘How coronavirus infected sport‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/18/how-coronavirus-infected-sport/

Crisis and force majeure regulation [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nikolai Atanassov (1st edition),

© JEGAS RA / Adobe Stock

In September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new pact on asylum and migration. The legislative package related to the pact includes a proposal for a regulation dealing with crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum, aimed at establishing a mechanism for dealing with mass influxes and irregular arrivals of third-country nationals in a Member State.

The regulation would set out the solidarity mechanism procedure in the event of returns of irregular migrants applying the possibility for return sponsorship on behalf of another Member State, as established in the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMR). It would also provide for shorter deadlines in comparison to usual procedures under the AMR, when applicable in a crisis situation and for some derogations in crisis situations concerning the asylum crisis management procedure, the return crisis management procedure, and the registration of international protection applications in crisis situations.

Complete version

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/15/crisis-and-force-majeure-regulation-eu-legislation-in-progress/

European Parliament Plenary Session – January 2021

Written by Clare Ferguson,

European Parliament building Brussels

European Union, EP

The New Year begins with Members of the European Parliament continuing to speak in debates from the Parliament’s external offices in European Union (EU) countries (and following the debates and voting from home). The agenda once again reflects the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on all aspects of Europeans’ lives. Driving the EU’s recovery efforts will be a key priority for the Portuguese Presidency of the Council, which took office on 1 January. Prime Minister Antonio Costa is due to present the presidency programme in plenary on Wednesday morning. As that is also the day of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Members will hear statements on recent developments in the United States.

Two joint debates are scheduled for this session. During the first, on Tuesday afternoon, Members will discuss, and later vote on, annual reports on the implementation of the common security and defence policy (CSDP), the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), and democracy and human rights in the world. While common EU positions on foreign policy are increasingly the rule rather than the exception, the coronavirus pandemic and a new, sometimes confrontational, geopolitical situation led to a more challenging global environment in 2020. The AFET committee annual report on the implementation of EU CFSP reiterates the need for respect of basic EU principles and calls for greater ambition in CFSP. The committee notes that the EU’s credibility is in play and calls for debate on the question of qualified majority voting in some areas of foreign policy. An integral part of EU CFSP and the main instrument for intergovernmental defence cooperation between Member States, a second AFET annual report looks at implementation of EU CSDP. While the report is positive regarding the EU’s global presence, it calls for further development of capabilities, greater cooperation with strategic partners, and underlines the need for democratic oversight, notably through consultation with Parliament. In addition, Members will discuss the AFET annual report on human rights and democracy in the world and EU policy on the matter for 2019 (which also discusses the 2020 situation, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic). Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms have been considerably strained by the effects of Covid‑19, which have exacerbated anti-democratic measures, discrimination, violence and hate speech. Climate change and environmental destruction have also increased threats to human rights, particularly for refugees and human rights defenders. The report urges the EU to streamline and monitor human rights and democratic standards in all its policies, including in international agreements. Here too, Parliament seeks greater scrutiny, notably of measures proposed under the 2020-2024 EU action plan on human rights and democracy.

The second joint debate, scheduled for Thursday morning, considers gender equality, and is likely to touch on both the effects of the coronavirus crisis and issues such as the digital gender gap. Progress to date on closing the gender equality gap has generally been slow in the EU. Women are also hit harder by the impacts of both climate change and digitalisation, where an opportunity to improve gender equality in the labour market has been missed. In addition, the health, social and economic crisis caused by Covid‑19 has led to consequences for women, including reduced income, domestic violence and shouldering much of the burden of care for others. A Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) Committee report welcomes the new EU strategy for gender equality for 2020‑2025, but underscores the need to tackle a recent backlash on equality with clear timescales, monitoring, and indicators of success. Two further FEMM own-initiative reports set out specific recommendations for responding to the effects of the coronavirus crisis and for promoting women’s and girl’s participation in the digital economy.

On Wednesday afternoon, Members are expected to debate and vote on a legislative-initiative report dealing with another issue exacerbated by the Covid‑19 pandemic – the blurring of the work/home boundary and the right to disconnect. While the digital transformation has meant that work schedules have become more flexible, workers’ rights to be able to disengage from work are under considerable strain. Although workers are protected in some EU countries, there is no legislation at EU level. Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs is calling for the European Commission to make a legislative proposal for a directive on the right to disconnect, and to reaffirm the right to no professional solicitation outside working time. The committee proposes minimum requirements on the use of digital tools for professional purposes outside working hours, emphasises the role of social partners, and the need for tailor-made solutions that meet specific sectors’ needs and constraints.

Members are scheduled to debate an own-initiative report on the implementation of the Framework Decision on the European arrest warrant (EAW) on Monday evening. Parliament has regularly called for a revision of this instrument (the first to allow judicial mutual recognition), due to issues regarding proportionality, judicial independence, prison conditions, and other problems. To date, the European Commission has declined to take up this invitation. While Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee recognises that the EAW is an effective instrument in combating serious cross-border crime and bringing perpetrators to justice, it nevertheless reiterates Parliament’s calls for a number of improvements.

For more than a year now, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system has been unable to sit, owing to the refusal of the outgoing US administration to allow new judges to be nominated. The EU’s Enforcement Regulation enables the Union to take action to protect its trade interests following a ruling of the Appellate Body. In the absence of such a ruling, on the other hand, the regulation does not allow the EU to take action. The European Commission’s proposal to amend the Enforcement Regulation would allow for trade protection measures to be taken in cases where the WTO Appellate Body is blocked, and also in similar cases where dispute-resolution procedures under other trade agreements are unable to progress. With agreement on the proposal reached in trilogue in November, Parliament is due to debate on Monday and then vote on the agreed text at first reading.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/15/european-parliament-plenary-session-january-2021/

Understanding EU counter-terrorism policy

Written by Sofija Voronova,

© makaule / Adobe Stock

Faced with a persistent international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security and justice, such as Europol, eu-LISA and Eurojust.

The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted in recent years range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. However, implementing and evaluating the various measures is a challenging task. The European Parliament has played an active role not only in shaping legislation, but also in evaluating existing tools and gaps through the work accomplished by its Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) in 2018.

In line with the Parliament’s recommendations, as well as the priorities set by the new European Commission and its counter-terrorism agenda presented in December 2020, future EU counter-terrorism action will focus on better anticipating threats, countering radicalisation and reducing vulnerabilities, by making critical infrastructures more resilient and better protecting public spaces. Upcoming developments also include increased information-sharing, by means of better implementation and modernisation of existing tools, a reinforced mandate for Europol, as well as possible investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

This briefing builds on an earlier one, entitled ‘The fight against terrorism‘, published in 2019.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Understanding EU counter-terrorism policy‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/15/understanding-eu-counter-terrorism-policy/

Surveillance capitalism and Europe’s moral duty to shape a human-centric digital future

Written by Mihalis Kritikos,

Surveillance capitalism and Europe's moral duty to shape a human-centric digital future

‘The European Union represents humanity’s best hope to prevent lawless, unprecedented computational concentrations of knowledge and power from becoming as irreversible and poisonous to our societies as the toxic concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have become to our earth.’ That was one the main statements made by Shoshana Zuboff, Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and award-winning author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’, at the STOA Annual Lecture 2020 that took place (virtually) on 9 December 2020. This year’s Annual Lecture, ‘Digital human rights and the future of democracy: Lessons from the pandemic’, was dedicated to the memory of the first Head of the STOA Secretariat, Richard (‘Dick’) Holdsworth. It focused on the disruptive effects of the digital revolution upon democracy and examined the challenges associated with the growing datafication and platformisation of our societies, and the need to reclaim data sovereignty in the era of artificial intelligence.

Given that the ongoing pandemic has accelerated our dependence on the digital world and our transformation from data subjects to data suppliers, the event proved to be a timely occasion to discuss how Europe could react to the uncontrolled extraction and use of data by technological giants. It took place only a few days before the publication of the European Commission’s proposals for a Digital Services Act and a Digital Markets Act. Both legislative proposals put forward a comprehensive set of new rules for all digital services – including online platforms – that operate in the European Union. Soshanna Zuboff referred to these legislative proposals as the EU’s chance to open the black box of surveillance capitalism and assert the right of democratic societies to control their own destinies – as regulators have done in countless other industries.

In her opening remarks, STOA Chair Eva Kaili (S&D, Greece) noted that digital processes and technologies are no longer simply monitoring our behaviour; through the use of predictive analytics, they are also pervasively influencing it. Expressing her concern about the accelerating commodification of personal data, Eva Kaili stated that the extensive use of highly targeted behaviour modification techniques have led to a threat of algocracy, i.e. ‘rule by algorithm’, which challenges the rule of law and erodes human agency, privacy and even democracy, in many ways. She noted that Shoshanna Zuboff’s participation in the 2020 STOA Annual Lecture as a keynote speaker marked an important milestone in STOA’s engagement with bold thinkers, whose critical views and ‘wake-up calls’ remind us of the fragility of our common values, as well as of our rights as citizens, our responsibilities as policy-makers, and our obligations to future generations.

Following the STOA Chair’s intervention, the European Commission Vice-President for the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, delivered the opening speech of the event. He noted the EU’s special responsibility to fit digitisation to our European values, to our democratic principles and to our European way of life. In his insightful speech, Vice-President Schinas highlighted the need to invest in people rather than in technologies or infrastructures. He placed a special emphasis on the need to chart a course for a digital transformation that is genuinely European – not as a matter of competitiveness but as an existential question. Vice-President Schinas then referred to the Commission’s various initiatives and legislative plans that will put in place a model that is human-centric and empowers Europeans as digital citizens.

In her remarkable lecture, Professor Zuboff characterised the uncontrolled extraction and use of data by technology giants as an ‘epistemic’ coup, where digitally activated data extraction leads to an unprecedented dominance of knowledge by the private sector, and allows a few data-enabled individuals to disregard humanity, democratic values and the rule of law, in the name of increasing their profits. She attributed the creation of ‘hidden extraction mechanisms’ that exert a new kind of power over people to the economic imperatives of surveillance capitalism. Her exceptional analysis revealed that a group of corporate actors (along with their complex, far-reaching ecosystems) are ‘intent upon subordinating private human experience to the goals of datafication, computational production and sales’. The nub of Professor Zuboff’s argument is that surveillance capitalism’s target is human nature itself – with Shoshanna Zuboff calling out the ‘data business’ playbook of ‘hidden extraction mechanisms’, which she said is robbing us of the ability to fight back. Professor Zuboff argued that surveillance exceptionalism, as established in the United States of America after 9/11, has become a practice free of regulatory constraints, that steals private human experiences and transforms them into data. Prediction products extracted by surveillance capitalists from human behaviour data are then sold on what she calls ‘behavioural futures markets’. Shoshanna Zuboff further noted that ‘we are paralysed in the iron cage of an epistemic dominance that is based on unequal knowledge and produces unequal power, and that the pandemic has led to a growth in surveillance revenues and to epistemic chaos’. She suggested that Europe should take the lead in adopting strong laws that focus on upstream data extraction practices and on the formal recognition of epistemic rights.

Professor Zuboff’s keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion on various aspects of key new technologies, with the participation of two additional eminent experts: Fredrik Heintz, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Linköping University, Sweden, and Karen Yeung, Professor of Law, Ethics and Informatics at Birmingham Law School, United Kingdom. Fredrik Heintz noted that explicability and investing in education are key principles when designing a governance framework for artificial intelligence. Karen Yeung stated that legal institutions can help us maintain the social foundation of our democracy. In her closing remarks, Eva Kaili noted that Shoshanna Zuboff’s insightful and passionate voice is needed to help European law-makers set rules on algorithmic transparency and shape the digital age in an inclusive and responsible manner. In her view, Professor Zuboff’s keynote speech can also act as a reminder of the fact that we have a lot of work to do in regulating technology, and more particularly in protecting our citizens and our societies by taming the unaccountable power of tech companies.

If you missed the lecture this time, you can access the presentations and watch a recording of the Annual Lecture on the STOA page.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/14/surveillance-capitalism-and-europes-moral-duty-to-shape-a-human-centric-digital-future/

Regulating digital gatekeepers: Background on the future digital markets act [Policy Podcast]

Written by Tambiama Madiega,

Businessman using mobile smartphone and icon network connection data with growth graph customer, digital marketing, banking and payment online, analysis and planning of business.

© ipopba / Adobe Stock

The EU has unveiled an ambitious plan to regulate online platforms, and the European Commission is proposing to introduce ex ante regulation to ensure that markets characterised by large platforms acting as digital gatekeepers remain fair and competitive for innovators, businesses, and new market entrants. The introduction of an ex ante regulatory framework that could limit online platforms’ commercial freedom and give wide-ranging enforcement powers to regulators would be a far-reaching step. Against this background, this briefing explains the rationale for regulating digital gatekeepers in the EU and provides an overview of the key policy questions currently under discussion.

Recent reports and studies have shown how a few large platforms have the ability to apply a range of practices that raise significant competition issues. The limitation of competition law – essentially applied ex-post after the anti-competitive practices have been implemented – has sparked a debate on whether EU competition rules are still fit for purpose and whether such platforms should not instead be regulated ex ante so as to provide upfront clarity about what behaviour towards users and competitors is acceptable. In this respect, the policy discussion focuses on a number of issues, in particular, how to identify online gatekeepers that should be subject to ex ante regulation, what conduct should be outlawed for those gatekeepers, what obligations should be placed on them (such as data portability and interoperability), and how such innovative regulations should be enforced. Finally, the briefing highlights the initial views of a number of stakeholders.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Regulating digital gatekeepers: Background on the future digital markets act‘.

Listen to policy podcast ‘Regulating digital gatekeepers: Background on the future digital markets act’ on YouTube.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2021/01/14/regulating-digital-gatekeepers-background-on-the-future-digital-markets-act-policy-podcast/