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Watch: Von der Leyen gives glimpse of what EU's Digital Services Act will look like

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By Euronews
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.   -   Copyright  Kenzo Tribouillard/AP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has given more details on a new set of rules to govern the EU’s digital market.

"Europe's tech sector is coming of age," she told the Web Summit, adding that the continent can be a global leader in next wave of digital transformation.

Opening the event, the president explained how the Commission intends to "rewrite the digital market rulebook for small start-ups as well as big platforms".

The new Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act - set to be presented officially next week - aim to create a single baseline set of rules for all digital businesses, she said.

Von der Leyen said she believed "what is illegal offline should be illegal online too," and that the EU wanted to move towards one set of "hard-and-fast digital rules" across the bloc rather than a "patchwork of national legislations".

Tech industry and government officials are attending the annual Lisbon-based event, which is being held online this year.

Nine vice presidents and commissioners are also speaking at the summit.

The Commission hopes its new approach will create a homogenous digital EU market, positioning Europe as a leader for the online governance of content moderation.

It announced in January 2020 that a new Digital Services Act would be passed by the end of the year, replacing the 20-year-old e-Commerce Directive, which was in drastic need of updating.

The new set of regulations, along with digital services liability rules, aim to make sure the bloc has a more competitive digital market that allows SMEs to go head-to-head with big tech.

The legislative journey the rules must undergo, however, is likely to take a while.

Von der Leyen also outlined how the EU intended to position itself at the forefront of the online marketplace: Of the €750 billion investment fund to reshape EU economy, 20% will fund digital investment, she told the conference.

She also promised to bring high-speed connectivity to all four corners of Europe "with 5G, 6G and fibre."

The bloc will also invest in a new generation of European microprocessors and supercomputers to "stretch the boundaries of both performance and energy efficiency."