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For more transparent and fair elections with Sandro Gozi's report on transparency and targeting of political advertising

Sandro Gozi

EDP Secretary General and MEP Sandro Gozi launches today the work on a new EU law which will regulate political advertising.

The main purpose of the Regulation is to lay down harmonised transparency obligations for  providers of political advertising, and to introduce harmonised rules on the use of targeting and amplification techniques for political advertising, where personal data is used.  The political advertising services in the EU are evolving, showing particular increase in online  services, which are often provided cross border. The digital transition and technological  changes have enabled a proliferation of different new media and methods of funding,  preparation, placement, promotion, publication and dissemination of political advertising.  These developments, against the background of fragmented and unevenly enforced national  regulation, clearly demonstrate, that the internal market rules should be adapted so that to ensure  adequate level of transparency for political advertising, necessary for a fair and open electoral  process in all Member States

Sandro Gozi declared: “Today my draft report on transparency and targeting of political advertising has been made public.

Politics is constantly changing shape and political advertising is becoming an ever more important dimension thereof. The development of political advertising has also important economic and societal effects.

Our challenge is to combat more effectively all forms of disinformation and external interferences in our democratic processes while preserving the openness of the public debate. With this proposal, the next elections in the EU will be more transparent.

This very timely proposal from the Commission will strengthen and complete our single market by introducing harmonised rules for transparency in political advertising, to overcome the harmful fragmentation that currently persists in this area.

This Regulation is meant to cover advertising that takes place on all forms of media, including online. According to a Eurobarometer survey, eight in ten Europeans believe that online social networks, Internet platforms and actors using them should observe the same rules as traditional media in a pre-election period. Moreover, almost four persons in ten said that they were exposed to content that they could not easily determine as being a political advertisement.

Furthermore, in recent years we have seen dubious political advertising proliferate in elections and referenda in a number of countries across the world. Foreign malign actors have shown no qualms to using all the existing loopholes to interfere in domestic democratic processes. Last but not least, it is often unclear how an advertisement is directed at a specific person or group of people.

My draft report makes some needed further clarifications as to the scope, definitions and obligations of all actors involved in the process of political advertising. We strengthened the level of transparency to enable citizens to easily distinguish a political advertisement, to know why they are seeing it, and who paid for it. Furthermore, the report strengthens the governance by improving the cooperation between national authorities and by asking for more harmonised penalties. Finally, the report better defines and regulates the different digital techniques, such as targeting and amplification.

The official presentation of the draft report in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee, will be on the 11th - 12th of July. I am convinced that thanks to the further suggestions by my IMCO colleagues, we will manage to improve the current text of the proposal even further, with the ultimate goal of having transparent and fair elections in the EU, starting from 2024."