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EC notice & action directive to come out of the drawer?

17 July, 2013

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Bleibt 'Notice & Action'-Richtlinie in der Schublade?

On 3 July 2013, a number of nine MEPs sent a letter to Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, regarding a Notice-and-Action directive that was not prepared but subsequently not published or proposed by the European Commission. As a result, the European Parliament was not, and will not be, able to give its position on the subject.

While welcoming the fact that Barnier’s services have undertaken careful investigations in the field, having in view the great concerns in the area (especially considering projects that “have undermined citizens’ trust in the Union” such as CleanIT), the letter however expresses concern for the fate of the proposal for a notice and action directive.

It seems that Commissioner Michel Barnier has chosen not to publish the proposal although it took 3 years of investigations to produce it and these investigations concluded that the circumstances under which requests for material takedown are made, are extremely arbitrary and in need of clarification.

It appears that opposition to the proposal came from Cecilia Malmstöm, Commissioner for Home Affairs. She (as Commissioner responsible for funding the CleanIT projet), objected to clearer procedures for dealing with allegedly illegal material.

“As elected members and representatives of the European public, this is of high concern to us. The political process will not gain legitimacy if publicly elected representatives are not allowed to scrutinize and debate proposals of concern in a transparent and democratic manner’” says the MEPs' letter.

The MEPs therefore ask Barnier’s directorate “to propose the draft text as a directive for the Member States. It is not acceptable that the Parliament is kept out of these important discussions. If the indications that the directive might collapse into a mere recommendation come true and in this way the Parliament gets no say – we fear that both the citizens’ trust in European institutions as well as our trust in the European Commission may suffer.

We trust that you agree that a transparent and inclusive mechanism for political decision making is the preferred route for Europe, and we’re looking forward to our further interactions.”

MEPs Letter to Michel Barnier European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (3.07.2013)

Commission staff working document “Report on the implementation of the e-commerce action plan” (23.04.2013)

EC Notice-and-action Procedures

Letter to Michel Barnier on the Notice-and-Action in Europe (only in Swedish, 6.07.2013)



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