Impact of 2019-2024 EU Legislative Cycle on Communication Agencies

Impact of 2019-2024 EU Legislative Cycle on Communication Agencies

hoto of a blue flag with twelve yellow stars in a circle, symbolizing the European Union, flying on a flagpole. The background shows a modern glass building with reflections and a slightly blurred effect, emphasizing the flag in the foreground

Ursula von der Leyen’s tenure as President of the European Commission was dominated by the dual crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the full-scale war in Ukraine, both of which she is widely considered to have managed effectively. Her presidency focused on establishing the EU as a global leader in environmental policy and digital regulation, with significant implications for communication agencies.

Environmental Policy and “Greenwashing

Von der Leyen’s initial agenda emphasised setting global standards in environmental policy. This led to heightened scrutiny on “greenwashing,” where companies falsely claim environmentally friendly practices. For communication agencies, this has created an environment where genuine corporate sustainability efforts are increasingly recognised and valued by policymakers. The future direction of environmental policies will largely depend on the outcomes of the upcoming European elections. Recent political trends, such as the Dutch national election, indicate a potential backlash against stringent environmental measures, suggesting that a probable von der Leyen II Commission may need to adopt a more cautious approach.

Digital Regulation: A Wave of New Legislation

The 2019-2024 legislative cycle saw substantial advancements in digital regulation. Key legislations include:

Digital Services Act (DSA)

– Digital Markets Act (DMA)

– EU AI Act

These regulations were introduced amid the implementation of the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), presenting a challenging landscape for tech companies. Political concerns about the influence of tech giants remain, but there is growing advocacy, including from Member States, for a moratorium on new regulations. This pause would allow businesses to adapt to the recent laws, many of which are still being rolled out. Understanding the interplay between GDPR, the AI Act, DSA, and DMA, alongside sector-specific legislation like the Media Freedom Act and copyright laws, will be an ongoing process, with key executive agencies still being established.

Media Freedom Act and Its Impact

A notable achievement of von der Leyen’s first term was the adoption of the EU Media Freedom Act (MFA). This legislation introduces new challenges for communication agencies, particularly concerning state advertising resources and audience measurement standards. Establishing the Media Services Board under the MFA has sparked divergent reactions within the media industry, with strong support from audiovisual sectors and opposition from the print media.

Consumer Legislation Review and the Anticipated Digital Fairness Act

One significant project not completed during von der Leyen’s first term was the review of EU consumer legislation. Instead, the European Commission undertook a comprehensive “fitness check” of the existing EU acquis. The Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) advocates for updated consumer protections to address the digital age’s challenges, such as AI and dark patterns in online behaviour. Consequently, it is expected that early in the next mandate, the Commission will propose a “Digital Fairness Act,” aiming to consolidate existing consumer protection laws, including those on Unfair Contract Terms and Unfair Commercial Practices.


The 2019-2024 EU legislative cycle has introduced significant changes in both environmental and digital regulation, directly affecting communication agencies. The von der Leyen Commission’s actions have set the stage for ongoing developments, with future policies likely shaped by electoral outcomes and evolving political landscapes. There is a clear call from member states and stakeholders to shift focus from new legislation towards effective implementation of these legislative measures. Additionally, the Council emphasizes the importance of EU competitiveness, including attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, bridging the digital divide, and securing economic stability while maintaining openness. Communication agencies must stay informed and adaptive to navigate the complex regulatory environment effectively.

<< Back to all news