Tech Policy for Startups – Where are we at?

July 29, 2021
Startups Robot

2021 has been a busy year for digital policy and we are expecting more coming our way after the summer. Legislation on platform regulation, artificial intelligence and data sharing are piling up at the EU institutions. It will shape and define the future innovation economy and startups ecosystems in the EU and beyond, so it’s imperative to get it just right! Here is a summary of what to expect after the summer in startup policy. 


The Digital Services Act 

The European Commission published the Digital Services Act (DSA) last December and it’s been busy in the institutions ever since. More than 2000 amendments have been submitted to the Internal Market Committee in the European Parliament. At AFS, we are optimistic that the final EP position will take into account platform startups’ resources. A successful DSA will be one that is clear, proportionate and that ensures legal certainty by keeping the key principles of the E-Commerce Directive, such as the Country of Origin Principle. 


Digital Markets Act

The Digital Markets Act was published alongside the DSA last December. The work in the EP and the Council is ongoing. We’re supportive of the goal of making EU markets more contestable and constructively accompany the legislative process. At the same time, we are looking for more clarity with the scope, the processes and making sure the DMA doesn’t undermine startup acquisitions. Ultimately we do not want to punish ambition or growth. We want to encourage entrepreneurs in our networks to build giants that take on the big players.


The Artificial Intelligence Act

This key file will shape the future of AI development and deployment in the EU. As of now, the work has not officially started in the European Parliament. Committees will be settling for competencies over the file in Autumn. It will be key that this legislation takes into account that innovation moves fast and that AI is constantly changing. Any requirements for AI systems, be them low or high risk, should be future-proof and implementable to provide the legal certainty AI entrepreneurs need to innovate. 


Data-related policies 

Following the announcement of the European Strategy for Data, the Commission published the Data Governance Act (DGA) which aims to facilitate the sharing and reuse of sensitive public data. The DGA is a complement of the Public Sector Directive, adopted in 2019. While the European Parliament and the European Council are finalising their position on the file, we encourage policy makers to design a free flow of this type of data that will enable

startups to access and reuse it in a secure and innovation-friendly way inside and outside the EU. 


Simultaneously the Commission is working on the Data Act, which will be published in December Its objective is to ensure access to and use of data in the business-to-business and business-to-government contexts. With so many data proposals we hope that the Commission will ensure that these are coherent, simple and clear so that entrepreneurs can navigate them. 


Taking into account all of these pending legislation, we can’t help to wonder how this will incentivise technological innovation in the EU. We encourage European policy makers to see legislation through the lens of entrepreneurs and design a regulatory environment promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.