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

By EDRi · July 17, 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)