The European Commission welcomes the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the Regulation on transparency of political advertising. It is part of the Commission's actions to protect election integrity and support an open democratic debate. Under these new rules, political adverts will need to be clearly labelled as such and must indicate who paid for them, how much, to which elections, referendum or regulatory process they are linked and whether they have been targeted. Citizens will be able to distinguish messages that seek to shape their political views and decisions.
Targeting and amplification techniques will only be available for online political advertising based on personal data collected from the data subject and subject to consent, and the use of sensitive personal data will be banned. This will limit abusive use of personal data to potentially manipulate voters. All online political ads will be available in an online ad repository. Sponsoring ads from outside the EU will be prohibited three months before elections.
The political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council is now subject to formal approval by the co-legislators. The Commission will work to support early compliance, including in the framework of the Code of Practice on Disinformation.
President von der Leyen announced legislative proposals to ensure greater transparency on paid political advertising as part of her political guidelines. The Commission tabled its proposal on 25 November 2021.
In the European Democracy Action Plan, adopted in December 2020, the Commission presented its assessment of the challenges in relation to political advertising and issues linked to new techniques used to target advertising based on users' personal data. Regardless of whether the data was properly obtained or not, those techniques can be misused to exploit citizens' vulnerabilities. EU citizens have a right to receive objective, open and pluralistic information.
The Regulation builds on and complements relevant EU law, including the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR') and the Digital Services Act (‘DSA'), and relies on the existing data protection framework to oversee targeting requirements. When it comes to providers of intermediary services, it is expressly articulated with the enforcement framework laid down in the DSA. The regulation lays out comprehensive rules on transparency, accountability and systems-design for advertising on online platforms, also including political advertising. The update of the self-regulatory Code of Practice on Disinformation, based on Commission guidance, complements the Regulation on transparency of political advertising.
For More Information
- Publication date
- 7 November 2023
- Representation in Malta