Taoiseach urges caution over internet regulation

EU needs to get ‘regulatory balance right’

The EU’s growing power in the field of data protection and internet regulation has divided member states, pitting a number of so-called “northern” countries including Ireland, Britain and the Netherlands against countries such as France and Germany. Photograph: PA

The EU’s growing power in the field of data protection and internet regulation has divided member states, pitting a number of so-called “northern” countries including Ireland, Britain and the Netherlands against countries such as France and Germany. Photograph: PA

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has written to European Council president Donald Tusk ahead of this week’s leaders’ summit urging the European Union to get the “regulatory balance right” as Brussels prepares new rules on regulating internet companies.

In a letter signed by eight heads of State, and seen by The Irish Times, the leaders of a cluster of pro-business member states, including Ireland, have called on the head of the European Council to prioritise discussion of the EU’s digital single market during this week’s summit, but have also urged caution on regulation.

Regulation

British prime minister David Cameron, as well as the leaders of the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Poland, are the other co-signatories of the letter, which call for the EU to benchmark its proposals on copyright, consumer rules and online trading for SMEs “against the best-in- class trading blocs.”

Data protection

European Commission

The EU’s growing power in the field of data protection and internet regulation has divided member states, pitting a number of so-called “northern” countries including Ireland, Britain and the Netherlands against countries such as France and Germany which are facing increased public concern about data protection issues, particularly in the wake of the NSA spying scandal.

The issue of data protection regulation has particular pertinence for Ireland given its status as the European hub for some of the world’s biggest internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

“This new strategy for the digital single market now demands our strong political endorsement at this week’s meeting,” the letter states.