The EU’s European Affairs Ministers took stock of the draft Digital Green Certificate, or ‘Covid-19 Certificate’ as the European Parliament wants to call it, while the co-legislators were due to meet again at the end of the day for a second negotiation meeting.
At the final press conference, the Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, said she hoped that an agreement could be reached “as soon as possible”, although some differences remain between the two parties.
One of the outstanding issues with the European Parliament is that the PCR tests associated with the certificate are free of charge. On this point, the Secretary of State said that Member States could see “what to do about the accessibility of these tests, but we cannot impose a price, it is the law of the market”.
Earlier in the day, German State Secretary Michael Roth said he hoped an agreement could be reached “within a few weeks”.
“This is not only important for the countries that depend on tourism, but for all of us: it is (...) a clear signal for freedom of movement and mobility in the European Union”, said the minister. “We need to send a clear message that we are making progress. This is very important in view of the summer”, he added.
The Council of the EU wants competition authorities to carry more weight in the future ‘Digital Market Act’ (DMA). At least, this is what has emerged from a progress report by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council.
“While Member States generally acknowledge that the Commission should have a central role in the implementation and enforcement of the Digital Markets Act, a majority of Member States called for further consideration of the role of Member States, including competent national authorities, for example in the opening of market investigations, market monitoring and in the decision-making procedure”, says the report.
A number of Member States have also emphasised the need to detail the framework for cooperation and information sharing between the Commission and the Member States, and have asked for clarification on the legal basis of the text, the gatekeeper designation, the interaction between the DMA and other legislation, and on regulatory obligations and costs.
However, in addition to these important clarifications, the Presidency has also stated that there is “a strong and general support among the Member States for the level of ambition of the proposal, its overall objectives and the need for swift approval”, in terms of applying the DMA.
The progress report is due to be submitted to the Competitiveness Council on 27 May, as is the EU Council’s progress report on the Digital Services Act (DSA), regarding which the Presidency states in a document that “most Member States” support the legal basis of the text.
The American tech giant Microsoft pledged to keep all of its European customers’ data stored on its ‘cloud’ services in Europe.
This includes the ‘Office 365’ office suite, ‘Dynamics 365’ business application services, and ‘Azure’ services—through which companies can dispense with physical servers.
This announcement will come into effect “by the end of next year”, explained Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer.
This statement comes at a time when there have been long-standing concerns in Europe about US data legislation.
As recently as 20 April, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties adopted a report urging the European Commission to issue clear guidelines on the transfer of personal data to the United States.
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Digital Transformation Risks: Surviving the Service Provider Security Breach
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