Austria leads Council Presidency until the end of the year

On 1 July 2018, Austria took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next six months. It will steer EU law-making with as many as 200 legislative proposals waiting on the table.

Although the previous Bulgarian Presidency managed to bring progress with some files, a significant challenge remains and the clock is rapidly ticking. The EU institutions are currently grearing up for the next European Parliament elections taking place in less than a year’s time. The new elected parlamentarians are set to enter the scene in Brussels in May 2019 causing political priorities once again to get reshuffled.

For advertising agencies, it will be particularly interesting to see whether the Austrian Presidency will be able to move forward (1) the ePrivacy Regulation, (2) the Platform-to-business Regulation and (3) the directives related to corporate and revenue-based digital taxation. These dossiers are very troublesome for agencies operating in an online environment.

(1) So far, the advances seem very limited for the ePrivacy Regulation. The Austrian Presidency has only committed to issuing a progress report. (2) Regarding the Platform-to-business Regulation, the Council is expected to issue its first draft on 24 July and find a general approach by the end of its term. (3) The Presidency is set to organise a policy debate on the Directive for digital corporate tax. It will step up the game regarding the Directive for digital tax on revenues with an aim to reach a political agreement despite opposition from some countries. It remains to be seen what will happen, especially given that the procedural rules of this file require unanimity among the EU member states.

Markus Deutch, Director General of the Austrian Advertising Association Fachverband Werbung (FVW) says that the Presidency‚ has demonstrated a strong will to ensure transparency and involve various stakeholders, being knowledgeable of (advertising) self-regulation and welcoming industry input and self-regulatory initiatives‘. He reassures the intention of the Austrian Advertising Association to ‘best present the Austrian and European economy and the advertising industry together with the lobbying platform of EACA‘.

EACA is pleased to be working together with WKO in the coming months to advocate the interests of our industry together. Year after year, Austria ranks high in the European Advertising Business Climate Index, indicating the country’s strong potential in the advertising market, enabled by approriate law-making and political leadership.

In the words of the Council President Donal Tusk: ‚There is a huge amount of work to be done and limited time. But I feel, we could not be in better hands‘.[1]