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New European Parliament, old issues for tech

After last week’s election of the leadership of the new European Parliament, this week was the time to set out who’s going to run the policy work.

Last week, the new European Parliament elected its new president, David Sassoli, a centre-left Italian politician, 11 Vice-Presidents and the five questors. This week was the time to set out who’s going to run the policy work. For the tech industry, there are four committees that cover a lot of the legislative work.

Perhaps the most important Committee, and the one that will make the running on a lot of the issues facing the sector is the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, which will be chaired by Adina-Ioana Valean, a centre-right Romanian politician, with longstanding experience in parliamentary work in both energy and digital policy. She was Vice-President of the European Parliament and chairwoman of the Environment Committee in the previous term.

The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee stays with Roberto Gualtieri, a Social-Democrat from Italy, who held the same position in the previous term.

While the LIBE Committee (Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) is going to a Spanish centre-left politician who’s been in the European Parliament for a few terms now, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar. This is the committee most prominently working on privacy issues.

The Internal Market Committee will be run by a newly elected MEP, Petra de Sutter, a Belgian from the Green Party. A lot of the initiatives to do with removing barriers to the internal market as well as matters of consumer protection fall under the remit of this committee.

Most of the policy positions of power in the European Parliament stay within the top four groups, the centre-right EPP, the centre left S&D, Renew Europe which has replaced ALDE as the Parliament’s liberal bloc, and the Greens. With the overall balance in the Parliament slightly leaning to the left, we can expect the Parliament to continue in the tradition of being the stricter of the three institutions of the EU (alongside the Council and the Commission) on tech regulation.

Of course, with Brexit on the horizon, UK MEPs may only be in Brussels for a short period. However, the time between now and October will be important in shaping much of the initial direction of travel on issues key to the sector. 

With this in mind techUK has prepared a briefing paper for the newly-elected British MEPs on all the issues on the EU tech agenda that are going to take centre stage in the early days of the term and shape EU digital economy for the decades to come. This include critical issues such as ePrivacy, eCommerce and online terrorism content.

And after all that, what else do you talk to UK MEP’s about? You’ve guessed it – we have a full analysis of all possible Brexit scenarios and how each of those would affect the UK tech sector.

Next week, we’ll be in Strasbourg, meeting MEPs and discussing all these areas and help newer MEPs get to grips with the complex tech files awaiting them. Away from EU tech policy, MEPs will also decide next week what to do about a certain Ursula VDL, the candidate for the top job, the presidency of the European Commission. Will she get enough support to be confirmed next week or will this roll over into September? We’ll update you next Friday on the highlights of this last plenary session before September.


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