Digital Services Act:
All You Need to Know About Its Importance for SMEs

Following the IMCO Committee’s vote in the European Parliament on September 28th, on Tuesday October 6th, 2020, in cooperation with  the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers Poland (ZPP) and the European Enterprise Alliance(EEA), SME Connect had a webinar titled “Digital Services Act –  All you Need to know about its importance for SMEs”.

Moderated by Dr Michal Boni, First Minister of Administration and Digitalization of Poland 2011-2013, Member of the European Parliament 2014-2019 and Special Representative for Digitalization and AI at SME Connect, the webinar was the occasion for Alex Agius Saliba MEP, Member of the IMCO Committee and Rapporteur on the Digital Services Acts, Board Member of SME Connect to present the DSA Report to the wider public. MEP Saliba’s contribution was followed by a keynote by Justyna Romanowska, Head of Section Digital Affairs at the Representation of the Republic of Poland to the European Union and by interventions by Glenn Cezanne, Secretary General at the European Enterprise Alliance; Victoria De Posson, Senior Manager Public Policy at CCIA Europe and lastly, Dr. Horst Heitz, SME Connect’s own Chair of Steering Committee.

“The DSA aims to shape the digital economy for the next twenty years for the European Union as well as set global standards as it has been the case with the GDPR,” stated MEP Saliba. With digital services developing becoming increasingly part of our everyday lives, upcoming European legislation will focus on rendering illegal online what is illegal offline as well as on levelling the playing field with competitors based outside the EU whose services target European citizens, which will ensure both consumer protection and fair competition.

Bringing the national perspective of Poland, Justyna Romanowska highlighted the three principles at the cornerstone of the DSA: the country of origin principle, liability exemption and the ban on general monitoring. She also remarked that legislation should not place additional burdens and hinder market entrance.

On the same line, representing the business sector, Glenn Cezanne advocated for a well-balanced, consumer-focused DSA that also recognized the innovative role of SMEs in the digital ecosystem. Similarly, Victoria de Posson concorded on the three DSA principles listed by Justyna Romanowska, adding that such regulatory framework should be principle-based and horizontal in its nature, with targeted additions to solve particular issues. Lastly, speaking for SMEs all across Europe, Dr. Horst Heitz remarked the decisive impact of e-commerce and digital tools on SMEs and their business model. This is particularly relevant in the case of competition with enterprises based outside Europe, enterprises who don’t share the same standards of consumer safety.

Ultimately, the DSA represents the chance to encompass recent technological and social developments in a forward-looking and global standard-setting regulatory framework for the digital ecosystem and all its players.