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You'll find in this section and below a library of resources (mostly) produced by EuroCommerce by type and in chronological order. If you are looking for resources related to a certain subject, issue or policy area, browse our policy areas section.

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Non-tariff barriers fragment single market and harm consumers
24 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumers Committee (IMCO) has adopted an own-initiative report by Kosma Złotowski MEP on tackling non-tariff barriers in the single market. EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe said:

“Our ecosystem relies on the single market to provide our customers what they need at an affordable price. This own-initiative report contains some excellent proposals which we support, including an annual report on non-tariff barriers. We strongly encourage the plenary to fully endorse the report when voting in December. In particular, the report helpfully underlines that more needs to be done to enforce single market rules and roll back a trend which was apparent during the COVID pandemic of introducing new national barriers. We particularly welcome the report raising the problem of territorial supply constraints, the restrictions imposed by global brand manufacturers and which cost Europe’s consumers upwards of €14 billion a year, and ask the Commission to take immediate action to address these.”

Retail and wholesale operates in a highly competitive environment. European competitiveness both globally and at home can only be achieved by ensuring a single market that works for all actors and consumers. We have seen many governments, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, regularly introduce protectionist and discriminatory laws, which violate the freedom of establishment and the free movement of goods. The Commission has focused on better enforcement of single market rules, and we look forward to seeing the SMET enforcement task force acting decisively to deal with national barriers and the failure of member states to notify new measures under the Transparency and Services Directives. In services, the Commission’s mapping of barriers shows they are increasing in retail and wholesale. On this basis, we call upon the Commission carefully to examine whether national authorisation procedures are proportionate and non-discriminatory.

A Commission report last year underlined the effect of persistent territorial supply constraints (TSCs) imposed by the largest brand manufacturers of grocery products which prevent retailers and wholesalers from sourcing on a European basis or choosing where to buy. These can take various forms such as refusing to supply except through their national distributor or threatening to stop supplying a particular distributor, limiting the quantities available for sale, inexplicable differences in product ranges and prices between Member States, or limiting language options for product packaging, as seen in the AB InBev case. According to the study, these restrictions would cost European consumers at least €14bn a year.

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Competition central to future prosperity of Europe and consumers’ welfare
18 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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Speaking today on the presentation of the Commission Communication on a Competition Policy Fit for New Challenges, EuroCommerce Director-General Christel Delberghe said:

“EuroCommerce welcomes the Commission’s recognition that competition in the single market is central to Europe’s recovery and ensuring the global competitiveness of European businesses, driving choice and innovation and ensuring better prices. Our sector needs a competition framework which fully reflects the challenges and significant investment needed in meeting the demands of the digital and sustainability transition while operating at very low margins. It needs regulation that, along with recovery funds, can support its future resilience and attract investment.”

Retail and wholesale operates in a highly competitive environment. European competitiveness both globally and at home can only be achieved by ensuring proper competition and a single market that works for all actors and consumers.

Supporting investment is a key priority. In 2020, the Commission estimated investment needs in retail and wholesale to be €115 billion. Our sector will need to double its investment if it is to remain able to provide other ecosystems and customers the essential service it does now and meet the challenges of the digital and sustainability transition. It also needs the necessary infrastructure and a framework which allows it to succeed and thus attract the necessary private investment.

Companies in our ecosystem are showing leadership in sustainability, with major investments to make their operations and what they sell even more sustainable – reflected in the many examples in our website sustainable-commerce.com. They have also made a range of commitments under numerous public and private sector initiatives, but none of this can be achieved by companies - or the sector - alone, and their efforts need to be combined with others’ to be effective. Competition rules which provide clarity on what forms of cooperation and data exchange are possible will help companies join forces with the necessary legal certainty in pursuing genuine sustainability efforts (rather than cosmetic greenwashing).

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Retail and wholesale - cooperating to halt deforestation
17 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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Commenting today on the European Commission proposal for measures to reduce the impact on the world’s forests of products sold in the EU, EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe underlined the many individual and joint initiatives retailers and wholesalers have undertaken to help reduce these impacts.

“In the week after the agreement at COP 26 and as Europe imports and consumes close to a third of the globally traded agricultural commodities, it seems relevant that the Commission comes forward with a proposal to help business in avoiding contributing to further deforestation and climate change. Only with cooperation between private actors of the supply chain, local action by government in producing countries and harmonised enforcement of current and future regulations will we succeed in making a concrete and real impact on deforestation.” 

The retail and wholesale sector is committed to play its part in helping fight deforestation and many leading operators have made concrete commitments.  However, being part of a very complex supply chain, help and support is necessary to identify where the risks of deforestation are.  We are pleased to see the Commission proposal and previous reports recognise the role of private schemes in contributing to the due diligence process and tackling illegal logging and deforestation. Similarly, the proposal for benchmarking third-country regions will help all in the supply chain in identifying areas of risk, and will be a major help in setting priorities in the due diligence mechanism and establishing the right policies and tools to target deforestation.

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SMEs vital to life of communities in Europe
16 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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Speaking today in the context of the SME Assembly being held in Slovenia, Véronique Willems, Secretary-General of SMEunited and Christel Delberghe, Director General of EuroCommerce underlined the role of SMEs as the backbone of vibrant town centres and rural communities, made a joint call for action to address the challenges facing small businesses and the communities they serve:

We have worked together for many years to highlight the importance of SMEs, making up 99,8% of enterprises in Europe, including in retail and wholesale. In cooperating today at a dedicated session on urban rejuvenation at the SME Assembly we aim to underline the difficulties faced by SMEs operating in town centres and look for action to help both businesses and local communities to maintain and build up lively town centres.

Town centres have seen increasing numbers of vacant shops and commercial premises, reflecting many factors and changes in the way people live. People in rural communities suffer if local services disappear. The COVID pandemic and the restrictions adopted to combat it have accelerated thisnegative trend, seeing shops, restaurants and other businesses close for good.

Our two organisations are calling for an ambitious revitalisation programme at EU, national and local level to reverse this trend, which undermines communities, hits employment and leads to an unsafe environment. In planning ways of making the towns and villages attractive places to visit, live, work and do business the whole community, including organisations of local businesses covering all economic activities (services, tourism, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, etc.) must be involved. We should look at how to balance a sustainable environment with mobility and access and investment in the urban fabric and infrastructure, drawing on regional funds. Additionally, we propose the setting up of a substantial Europe-wide programme targeting SMEs and micro businesses, raising awareness and providing expertise and support to entrepreneurs to go online to better reach their customers and transform their business models to succeed in the digital and sustainability transitions. And communities themselves should be brought together to share experience and exchange best practice.

We therefore ask the EU, and national, regional and local governments to dedicate funding to urgently address these challenges and secure the future of communities and the people living and working there.” 

 

 

 

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Retailers and wholesalers to engage in Pact for Skills
09 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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On the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Commission’s Pact for Skills, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren announced today that retailers and wholesalers will accept the invitation to organise the Pact for Skills for the Retail Ecosystem (including wholesale):

The Pact for Skills is a great opportunity for retailers and wholesalers across Europe to demonstrate their already considerable commitment to the up- and reskilling of the European workforce. We welcome the recognition by the European Commission of retail and wholesale as an important ecosystem driving Europe’s economic recovery, and our ecosystem’s strong record in equipping its workforce with a wide range of skills.

As the first private sector employer, retail and wholesale directly provide 26 million Europeans with rewarding jobs. It continue to offer opportunities to many young people to grow their skills and develop their careers. Retail and wholesale run some of the most innovative and popular vocational education in Europe, such as digital apprenticeships supporting e-commerce operations. Equally important, continuous learning in the workplace ensures our current employees remain up to date with new technologies and rapidly changing consumer preferences by combining formal, informal and non-formal learning.

EuroCommerce will be opening a renewed dialogue with the Commission on digital, sustainability and soft skills in four key areas: Vocational Education and Training (VET), Upskilling, Reskilling and Higher Education. We will be offering a detailed outline of its contribution to the Pact for Skills in the coming weeks, following consultations with the other partners in the ecosystem.

This decision follows the Commission Roundtable on Skills for the Retail Ecosystem in April this year with Commissioners Breton and Schmit, where senior executives from 8 retail companies shared how their companies are investing in up- and reskilling of their employees against a backdrop of a rapidly changing world of work and the digital and green transformation of retail and wholesale. EuroCommerce and its social partner UNI Europa have, for some time, been calling upon the Commission to help SMEs navigate this transformation by co-funding efforts to equip their employees with the skills needed to operate in this rapidly changing sector.

Christian Verschueren concluded:

Retail and wholesale is a people business, employing people and serving people. The future of physical retail will be about combining ‘high tech and high touch’. Our employees will need to be able to deal with sophisticated technology of increasingly digital and automated systems, while offering a positive customer experience with people skills based on expert advice and personal service.The Pact for Skills can help our member companies and associations exchange good practice and experience in providing skills and training within the ecosystem, help reinforce these efforts, and exchange experience with other ecosystems.

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Making Retail and Wholesale part of the solution to fight food waste
03 Nov 2021 open-close-item
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Key messages
• Retailers and Wholesalers have been extremely successful in tackling food waste both within theirown operations and by working with suppliers and consumers. Retail and Wholesale account for5% of total food waste.
• Success will be anchored to the involvement of all the actors of the supply at their level ofresponsibility: Retail and consumers cannot bear the responsibility alone for reducing food waste.
• Only a collaborative approach and smart mix of measures can ensure that we reach the SDGstargets.
• The EU is bound to the UN SDGs commitment and its policy should be aligned with thiscommitment, including when considering the baseline.

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UTP Directive implementation must avoid undermining the single market and harming consumers
27 Oct 2021 open-close-item
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Speaking today on the publication of the Commission report on implementation of the Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) directive, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

The Commission reports a good result on implementation of the UTP directive, with most member states having already transposed it and those remaining likely to do shortly.  The directive left national authorities a lot of leeway in how they implemented the legislation, with a number of member states going far beyond the requirements in the directive, with a real risk of creating further fragmentation in the single market and regulating practices with very little impact on farmers. We ask the Commission to look at member states who have used this to include measures which are directly incompatible with single market rules and require a notification under TRIS. We further ask the Commission to measure, in line with the objective of the directive, whether these benefit farmers. Finally, we would ask the Commission urgently to reconsider their decision to exclude buyers from the further feedback exercise they are now conducting.

The UTP directive, was part of a package to help farmers, including easing the scope for cooperation in producer organisations under the CMO regulation, and a measure on market transparency requirements.  It is a minimum harmonisation instrument allowing member states to choose to extend its provisions. The majority of countries have done so, widening the directive’s scope and the practices covered, in some countries prohibiting up to over 40 different practices and some introducing national sourcing obligations that are a clear infringement to the single market. We note the report’s helpful comment that measures beyond the minimum laid down in the directive are compatible with it “provided they respect the EU’s internal market rules”.

As a measure based on the agriculture provisions of the Treaty, the directive needs to be assessed against its impact on farmers.  Many of the provisions adopted by member states have little relationship to that objective.  The directive only provides for protection of suppliers, but none for buyers, and a number of member states have decided to protect larger suppliers with considerable market power. This was an approach which the DG Competition chief economist specifically warned against as part of the impact assessment of the Directive.

Retailers buy very little direct from farmers, but where they do, they work closely with farmers to help them reap the benefit from innovation and premium quality and animal welfare products.  They have introduced a wide range of initiatives in this area, including in supporting farmers’ transition to organic, promoting locally-grown products, and helping producer groups.  Numerous examples of these initiatives can be seen on our dedicated website www.sustainablecommerce.eu

While some countries have retained existing national provisions to allow buyers to complain about abuses by suppliers – of which there are numerous examples, many member states have given unilateral protection to suppliers, including large international suppliers. This one-sided approach has been reinforced in the Commission’s second UTP survey of stakeholders, which excludes any feedback from buyers.

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Retailers and wholesalers press for competition rules to continue to prioritise consumers
26 Oct 2021 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce welcomed Commission Competition Director-General Olivier Guersent today to its latest Policy Talk. EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren, said:

“This is a great opportunity to exchange views with the Commission on a number of crucial aspects of Europe’s important competition policy. The retail and wholesale environment is transforming fundamentally, to become more digital and greener. Both are demanding major investments in our industry to remain competitive. At the same time, it faces continued pressures from multinational manufacturers and regulators. These put further strains on a sector already operating on very low and decreasing margins. For retailers and wholesalers to continue providing its suppliers and customers with an essential service, and a wide choice at very competitive prices, competition rules must continue to prioritise consumers.”

In his speech and exchanges based on audience questions, Mr Guersent dealt with the role of competition rules in supporting industry policy goals, the Commission approach to the biggest review of competition rules for many years, and the opportunity this presents to update them to address the challenges of digitalisation, sustainability and maintaining consumer purchasing power. He was also able to update the audience on key aspects of the review in respect of vertical and horizontal competition rules, as well as the Digital Markets Act, merger control and market definitions.

He also covered how the Commission will approach the ongoing problems faced by merchants in respect of an only partially regulated payments markets in which card schemes have been able to increase their fees to the tune of 1.5 billion euros annually over the last 18 months. This has already cancelled out all of the benefits of the caps imposed on consumer card payments under the Interchange Fee Regulation in 2015, and the fees go on rising.

 

 

 

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Retail alliances – working to get the best deal for Europe’s consumers
25 Oct 2021 open-close-item
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With the Commission today holding a workshop on joint purchasing and pursuing its review of horizontal competition rules, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

We are asking that the Commission review recognises even more strongly the pro-competitive effects of alliances. Alliances, which exist in all sectors of the economy, combine the sourcing of their members facing stronger, more concentrated suppliers. Retail alliances help, on behalf of Europe’s consumers, partially to rebalance the power of multinational brand manufacturers, whose products make up a large proportion of most consumers’ shopping baskets and customers expect to see on retailers’ shelves. This gives these global manufacturers considerable leverage in negotiating the prices and conditions under which they sell to European retailers, who operate in only a limited number of markets. Alliances also help to mitigate large manufacturers’ fragmentation of the single market and other practices aimed at increasing their already significant margins”.

Retail alliances ensure consumer benefits in terms of prices, choice and innovation, in a concentrated supplier market of large global suppliers. Numerous studies demonstrate that alliances’ activities, which typically involve negotiation of sourcing conditions and services, or the actual purchase of products, lead to a 5-7% reduction in consumer prices. The Commission has over the years explicitly underlined this positive impact of alliances, with Commissioner Breton pointing to this in the context of vaccines, and Executive Vice-President Vestager pointing to their pro-competitive role on numerous occasions.

Retailers face a wide range of abusive supplier practices. These unfair industry practices (UIP) include excessive pricing, abusive rebate schemes, Territorial Supply Constraints (TSCs), illicit denial to supply, requiring retailers to stock products which sell less well to gain access to popular lines, demanding minimum shelf space, and engaging in horizontal cartels. As demonstrated in the ABInBev case and a number of pending investigations, large global manufacturers actively fragment the single market costing Europe’s consumers at least €14bn per year. Meanwhile these global suppliers fully exploit the single market to manufacture their products and source their ingredients at European and global level.

The attached background note gives more detail.

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Joint Industry Statement on Targeted Advertisement and the DSA
25 Oct 2021 open-close-item
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 Introduction


The undersigned EU trade associations have been closely following and proactively engaging in the legislative process of the Proposal for a Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and amending Directive 2000/31/EC.


As representatives of the wider retail sector, we believe the Digital Services Act (DSA) is of utmost importance for retailers in Europe to be able to increasingly operate cross-border, profit from a well-functioning Single Market and be supported by a harmonised and futureproof legislative framework. In particular due to the digital transformation of the industry, further accelerated by the outbreak of COVID-19, we believe that European policymakers should prioritise digitalisation and facilitate the continued uptake of digital solutions in the retail sector.


In that context, the undersigned would like to provide the perspective of the retail sector on the ongoing discussions on targeted advertisement. Following the publication of the DSA proposal with its new transparency obligations on online advertising, concerns have been raised about targeted advertising. As the negotiations are advancing in the European Parliament, the discussion on targeted advertisement has become a prominent element of the debate. Several Members of the European Parliament have advocated for the introduction of a ban or very strong restrictions on targeted advertising.


While the undersigned associations generally support increased transparency in online advertising, we believe a ban on targeted advertising would lead to negative consequences for both businesses and consumers and is therefore neither justified nor desirable. The DSA is also not the appropriate instrument to regulate online advertising.


Key points


This joint paper outlines in detail several areas of concern of the co-signatories, namely:
•The proposed ban on or severe restriction of targeted advertisement, including an opt-inrequirement, go beyond the objective and scope of the DSA proposal. The DSA is notintended to revise existing data protection rules.
•A ban on targeted advertisements would have far-reaching negative consequences for thecompetitiveness of SMEs, and thus the opposite effect of what some have argued.
•The legal ground required for the processing of personal data for targeted advertising is alreadysufficiently regulated in Article 6 of the GDPR and Article 5.3 of the e-Privacy Directive.The DSA should be aligned with the GDPR and e-Privacy Directive and not repeat alreadyexisting rules.
•Targeted online advertisements are already regulated by other relevant legislation, suchas Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), the e-Privacy Directive and the Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising (MCAD).
•Rather than adding new rules on online advertising to another piece of legislation in an alreadycomplex legislative landscape, the focus should be on ensuring that existing rules areproperly executed and enforced at Member State level.


All these points are further developed in the following pages.


Importance of targeted advertising for SMEs


The undersigned associations generally welcome the provisions’ objectives in the Commission’s DSA proposal introducing further transparency obligations regarding online advertising for intermediary service providers. We believe these provisions can help to establish a fairer and more transparent advertising market. However, we fear that current discussions are placing a disproportionately strong focus on the potential negative aspects of targeted advertising. We would therefore like to provide some nuance to the discussion and demonstrate the impact of a potential ban.


Targeted advertisements and audience services are an important tool for retailers of all sizes to be able to reach consumers to offer their products and services, ensuring that consumers are met with relevant advertisements, instead of irrelevant and irritating ads for products and services, which is of no interest to them. In particular, following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent acceleration of digitalisation, a shift has taken place in which customer interactions have increasingly moved from an offline to an online environment. In that perspective, online advertising is essential for smaller retail businesses to interact with consumers that no longer visit physical stores to the same extent as before.


We consider it very important to ensure resilience across the wider supply chain. We would therefore like to point out that a ban or very strong restrictions on targeted advertising would in particular have a significant negative impact on the competitiveness of smaller retailers, which already comply with privacy and data protection rules and other relevant legislation. In the context of the DSA, personalisation is often confused with profiling and the spread of misinformation and fake news has been confused with advertisements for products, which are crucial for retailers and the functioning of the internal market.


SMEs use targeted online advertising to reach relevant consumers and measure return on investment in advertising carefully. Unlike larger companies, SMEs often operate on much smaller budgets, and do not have the resources or brand recognition that larger, more established companies have. In addition, a ban would increase the competitive advantage of bigger companies vis-a-vis SMEs, as large corporations would already have significant amounts of (potential) customers within their ecosystem. In contextual advertising, the content of a website is scanned for keywords or other environment parameters (e.g. images, videos) to be able to identify the interests of the user and link the advertising to that. As the advertising would only be linked to relevant contexts and not to the customer, it makes it much harder to reach new audiences and build and/or expand a brand.


As a result it is much harder for new small market entrants to compete with large and well-established competitors Contextual advertising as an alternative has thus simply proved ineffective and unaffordable for many smaller companies, as they cannot afford the more extensive advertising campaigns that would be required (in the absence of targeted advertisement) to reach the same relevant audience. This is confirmed by a study from Deloitte from May 2021 which polled more than 30.000 SME founders/owners/managers in 18 countries1. In addition according to a study by Ipsos2, the importance for SMEs is also recognised by users, of which a majority (68% in the EU) thinks personalized ads help local small businesses connect with customers who find their products and services useful, and can help them attract more customers.


Furthermore, as the recently published European E-Commerce Report 20213 shows, the number and share of e-shoppers has increased significantly in the last years, and in particular in the year 2020. Thisnmeans that consumers increasingly find retail companies and their products or services online. To ensure a level playing field and for SMEs to be able to compete on a European scale with larger companies, the use of targeted advertisements is thus essential.


We would also like to add that targeted advertising for products and services can also be beneficial for consumers, as it can be more tailored to consumer needs (e.g., for a dog owner it does not make sense to get advertisements for cat food). It is also important to note that a ban on targeting advertising would not mean that consumers would no longer receive advertisements, instead, the consumer will only receive less relevant content which will likely not result in an improved online experience. In particular, according to a recent study conducted by BCG, customers increasingly prefer am easy and fast shopping experience that helps them make purchase decisions. Customers think less about personalization per se than they do about the benefits it can provide4. Moreover, targeted advertisement is not a phenomenon limited to the online world. The advertisements we see on TV or in printed magazines for example are also always targeted to a specific audience i.e., the readers or viewers of these media formats. In addition, in brick-and-mortar retail, when a shop consultant consults a customer on which suit to buy, he or she will also screen the customer and make recommendations based on his or her size, style and the perceived budget. It is therefore important to consider that banning or severely restricting targeted advertisement only for online channels, would lead to an unequal treatment of the different channels.


In the last years, there have been strong efforts from the industry to innovate and make advertising more transparent while respecting the consumers’ fundamental rights. Our organisations believe that, these improvements could address many of the concerns that are currently being voiced in the European Parliament with regards to targeted advertising. In addition, it is crucial to ensure that any obligations are reflected throughout the entire supply chain, as all actors in the advertising ecosystem contribute to the advertising displayed to consumers. To ensure a high level of transparency, any new legislation should thus ensure that the entire supply chain is subject to such an obligation, otherwise it will be an impossible task for online platforms to reach a level of transparency that the consumers can easily understand. Moreover, we believe that including further rules on online advertising in the DSA will likely not have the intended effect, but instead stifle innovation and growth as start-up companies and SMEs will not have access to the same data ecosystem as larger companies. Instead of introducing a ban or severe limitations on targeted advertisements, legislation should focus on improving transparency, encouraging industry initiatives aimed at further transparency and ensuring equal competitive opportunities for businesses by stimulating proper enforcement of the existing rules.


Targeted advertising is already sufficiently regulated in more suitable legislation


We believe that the DSA is not the right instrument to introduce any provisions on banning or severely restricting targeted advertisements for the whole market using online platforms. Most importantly, the objective and scope of the DSA is not to regulate the full online advertisements sector or to revise existing rules on data protection.


We would like to point out that targeted online advertisements are already regulated by other relevant legislation. With regards to commercial advertising of products or services, this is already sufficiently regulated in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), the e-Privacy Directive and the Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising (MCAD). In addition, more specific sectors or elements of online advertising are further regulated in Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and the Platform-to-Business (P2B) Regulation. Instead of introducing new provisions on targeted adverting in the DSA, policymakers should consider including a clarification in the current revision of the UCPD and CRD guidance documents and how such legislation applies to targeted advertisement practices, including case law.


Alignment with the GDPR


The DSA should also be seen as complementary to existing legislation such as the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive. The DSA proposal states that the requirements of the DSA on the provision of information relating to advertisement are without prejudice to the application of the relevant GDPR provisions. However, the proposals currently discussed in the European Parliament go beyond what is already well regulated in the GDPR. The Draft Report of IMCO Rapporteur Christel Schaldemose, proposes to include a provision stating that providers of intermediary services “shall, by default, not make the recipients of their services subject to targeted, microtargeted and behavioural advertisement unless the recipient of the service has expressed a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent.” Our organisations believe that there already are suitable and sufficient legal grounds, required under Article 6 of the GDPR for the processing of personal data for targeted advertising and we are concerned about the proposals which seem to introduce consent into the DSA and partly re-write the GDPR.


Undersigned associations would therefore like to stress that it is crucial to first ensure proper enforcement of the rules under the GDPR, which we consider to be a proper protection of the fundamental rights of the data subjects, also with regards to targeted advertisements. The rules in the DSA on targeted advertisements should neither repeat already existing legislation, which could sufficiently address the concerns raised in Parliament when properly executed and enforced, nor aim to amend indirectly such legislation. We therefore urge policymakers to ensure the DSA respects, and is closely aligned with, the GDPR and e-Privacy Directive.


Focus on enforcement & proper impact assessment


Furthermore, since many existing pieces of legislation are sufficiently covering online advertising and targeted advertising, we believe the priority should be to ensure that these rules are properly enforced at Member State level. Rather than adding another rule on online advertising to another piece of legislation in an already complex legislative landscape, policymakers should enhance cooperation and coordination between the wide range of relevant regulatory. Moreover, when introducing new provisions, it needs to be thoroughly checked that they do not conflict with existing legislation.


Our organisations are concerned about the stage of the legislative process during which these far-reaching measures are being discussed. We believe that before policymakers could introduce a ban or strict limitation on targeted advertisements, they would first need to thoroughly analyse the current situation to be able to properly identify if there are any specific problems. The EU institutions should adhere to their own EU Interinstitutional Agreement on better Law Making, and first carry out an in-depth impact assessment, supported by public stakeholder consultations before undertaking legislative action. Additionally, it is unclear what “targeted advertisements” in this context precisely entail. There are different practices that could be considered targeted advertisements, including for instance political advertisements, segmented advertising, contextual advertising, and behavioural targeting. It appears that many concerns are focused on the risks regarding political advertising, such as fake news and manipulation of elections. We understand these concerns, but believe that they can better be solved with a targeted approach, rather than via a horizontal ban on all targeted advertising, including for commercial purposes like the marketing of products.

Statement co-signed by Ecommerce Europe, EuroCommerce & Independent Retail Europe

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1 In this study, 52% stated that traditional advertising does not reach their target audience in an effective way, 33% considered traditional advertising methods to be unaffordable for their business, while 76% using personalized ads reported that they were
effective in finding new customers for their business. See Deloitte (May 2021) Dynamic Markets Unlocking small business innovation and growth through the rise of the personalized economy.


2 Ipsos/Facebook (June 2021) People Globally View Personalized Ads as a Valuable Tool for Finding Relevant Goods and Services.


3 Lone, S., Harboul, N. & Weltevreden, J.W.J. (2021). 2021 European E-commerce Report. Amsterdam/Brussels: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences & Ecommerce Europe. (Jointly launched by Ecommerce Europe & EuroCommerce)

4 Mark Abraham, Robert Archacki, Josep Esteve González, and Stefano Fanfarillo (June 4, 2019) The Next Level of Personalization in Retail (bcg.com)

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