Preamble 131-140, Digital Services Act (DSA)
(131) In order to ensure a consistent application of this Regulation, it is necessary to set up an independent advisory group at Union level, a European Board for Digital Services, which should support the Commission and help coordinate the actions of Digital Services Coordinators. The Board should consist of the Digital Services Coordinators, where these have been appointed, without prejudice to the possibility for Digital Services Coordinators to invite in its meetings or appoint ad hoc delegates from other competent authorities entrusted with specific tasks under this Regulation, where that is required pursuant to their national allocation of tasks and competences. In case of multiple participants from one Member State, the voting right should remain limited to one representative per Member State.
(132) The Board should contribute to achieving a common Union perspective on the consistent application of this Regulation and to the cooperation among competent authorities, including by advising the Commission and the Digital Services Coordinators about appropriate investigation and enforcement measures, in particular vis à vis the providers of very large online platforms or of very large online search engines and having regard, in particular, to the freedom of the providers of intermediary services to provide services across the Union. The Board should also contribute to the drafting of relevant templates and codes of conduct and to the analysis of emerging general trends in the development of digital services in the Union, including by issuing opinions or recommendations on matters related to standards.
(133) For that purpose, the Board should be able to adopt opinions, requests and recommendations addressed to Digital Services Coordinators or other competent national authorities. While not legally binding, the decision to deviate therefrom should be properly explained and could be taken into account by the Commission in assessing the compliance of the Member State concerned with this Regulation.
(134) The Board should bring together the representatives of the Digital Services Coordinators and possible other competent authorities under the chairmanship of the Commission, with a view to ensuring an assessment of matters submitted to it in a fully European dimension. In view of possible cross-cutting elements that may be of relevance for other regulatory frameworks at Union level, the Board should be allowed to cooperate with other Union bodies, offices, agencies and advisory groups with responsibilities in fields such as equality, including gender equality, and non-discrimination, data protection, electronic communications, audiovisual services, detection and investigation of frauds against the Union budget as regards custom duties, consumer protection, or competition law, as necessary for the performance of its tasks.
(135) The Commission, through the Chair, should participate in the Board without voting rights. Through the Chair, the Commission should ensure that the agenda of the meetings is set in accordance with the requests of the members of the Board as laid down in the rules of procedure and in compliance with the duties of the Board laid down in this Regulation.
(136) In view of the need to ensure support for the Board’s activities, the Board should be able to rely on the expertise and human resources of the Commission and of the competent national authorities. The specific operational arrangements for the internal functioning of the Board should be further specified in the rules of procedure of the Board.
(137) Given the importance of very large online platforms or very large online search engines, in view of their reach and impact, their failure to comply with the specific obligations applicable to them may affect a substantial number of recipients of the services across different Member States and may cause large societal harms, while such failures may also be particularly complex to identify and address.
For this reason the Commission, in cooperation with the Digital Services Coordinators and the Board, should develop the Union expertise and capabilities as regards the supervision of very large online platforms or very large online search engines. The Commission should therefore be able to coordinate and rely on the expertise and resources of such authorities, for example by analysing, on a permanent or temporary basis, specific trends or issues emerging with regard to one or more very large online platforms or very large online search engines.
Member States should cooperate with the Commission in developing such capabilities, including through secondment of personnel where appropriate, and contributing to the creation of a common Union supervisory capacity. In order to develop the Union expertise and capabilities, the Commission may also draw on the expertise and capabilities of the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy as set up in Commission Decision of 26 April 2018 on setting up the group of experts for the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy, relevant expert bodies, as well as centres of excellence.
The Commission may invite experts with specific expertise, including in particular vetted researchers, representatives of Union agencies and bodies, industry representatives, associations representing users or civil society, international organisations, experts from the private sector, as well as other stakeholders.
(138) The Commission should be able to investigate infringements on its own initiative in accordance with the powers provided for in this Regulation, including by asking access to data, by requesting information or by performing inspections, as well as by relying on the support of the Digital Services Coordinators.
Where supervision by the competent national authorities of individual alleged infringements by providers of very large online platforms or very large online search engines points to systemic issues, such as issues with a wide impact on collective interests of recipients of the service, the Digital Services Coordinators should be able to, on the basis of a duly reasoned request, refer such issues to the Commission. Such a request should contain, at least, all the necessary facts and circumstances supporting the alleged infringement and its systemic nature.
Depending on the outcome of its own assessment, the Commission should be able to take the necessary investigative and enforcement measures pursuant to this Regulation, including, where relevant, launching an investigation or adopting interim measures.
(139) In order to effectively perform its tasks, the Commission should maintain a margin of discretion as to the decision to initiate proceedings against providers of very large online platforms or of very large online search engine. Once the Commission initiated the proceedings, the Digital Services Coordinators of establishment concerned should be precluded from exercising their investigative and enforcement powers in respect of the concerned conduct of the provider of the very large online platform or of very large online search engine, so as to avoid duplication, inconsistencies and risks from the viewpoint of the principle of ne bis in idem.
The Commission, however, should be able to ask for the individual or joint contribution of the Digital Services Coordinators to the investigation. In accordance with the duty of sincere cooperation, the Digital Services Coordinator should make its best efforts in fulfilling justified and proportionate requests by the Commission in the context of an investigation. Moreover, the Digital Services Coordinator of establishment, as well as the Board and any other Digital Services Coordinators where relevant, should provide the Commission with all necessary information and assistance to allow it to perform its tasks effectively, including information gathered in the context of data gathering or data access exercises, to the extent that this is not precluded by the legal basis according to which the information has been gathered.
Conversely, the Commission should keep the Digital Services Coordinator of establishment and the Board informed on the exercise of its powers and in particular when it intends to initiate the proceeding and exercise its investigatory powers. Moreover, when the Commission communicates its preliminary findings, including any matter to which it objects, to providers of very large online platforms or of very large online search engines concerned, it should also communicate them to the Board. The Board should provide its views on the objections and assessment made by the Commission, which should take this opinion into account in the reasoning underpinning Commission's final decision.
(140) In view of both the particular challenges that may arise in seeking to ensure compliance by providers of very large online platforms or of very large online search engines and the importance of doing so effectively, considering their size and impact and the harms that they may cause, the Commission should have strong investigative and enforcement powers to allow it to investigate, enforce and monitor compliance with the rules laid down in this Regulation, in full respect of the fundamental right to be heard and to have access to the file in the context of enforcement proceedings, the principle of proportionality and the rights and interests of the affected parties.
Note: This is the final text of the Digital Services Act. The full name is "Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on a Single Market For Digital Services and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (Digital Services Act)".
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