Fit for 2024 Political Ads. The nexus between meaningful transparency and restrictions to the processing of personal data.

Policy Brief

A Power Breakfast on Political Ads was organized by I-Com on February 23rd. The event was attended by MEP Sandro Gozi, MEP Rapporteur of the file, and Wojtek Talko, a member of Cabinet Commissioner Věra Jourová’s team. In addition, representatives from various institutions, trade and consumer associations, and independent experts were also present.

The dossier is of particular interest since the Commission is concerned about the potential for overseas dysfunctions to occur in the 2024 elections due to the rise of new media and funding methods that have been boosted by the Covid pandemic. To prevent this, the Commission has proposed a regulation called the Transparency and Targeting of Political Advertising (PRPA) to regulate the preparation, funding, and promotion of political messages.

The need for this regulation on political ads was recognized in the European Action Plan, which highlights the importance of transparency in sponsoring political content to maintain open and democratic debate. The regulation is based on the acknowledgment of political advertising as a service activity under Art. 57 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU. However, the varied national legislation on political advertising impedes the cross-border provision of this service in the European single market, and new rules to address challenges raised by online political advertising could further fragment this market.

The proposed regulation aims to remove barriers to the free supply of political advertising services both online and offline. This would ensure legal certainty in this delicate field for a democratic society. Against this background, the regulation seeks to harmonize transparency requirements, such as identifying the founders and sponsors of political content and regulating the processing of personal data for targeted advertising purposes. By promoting maximum harmonization, European consumers and providers of political advertising would benefit.

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