The Digital Services Act as seen from the European Periphery

Research report


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Published date: October 5, 2023

Author: Jenny Orlando-Salling & Louisa Bartolo

Region: Global,Europe

Subject tag: Advertising | Algorithmic systems | Child safety | Data Access | Disinformation and misinformation | Government transparency | Privacy and data protection | Terrorism and violent extremism

“We have an opportunity to create a new global golden standard for tech-regulation that will inspire other countries and regions” – Christel Schaldemose (Danish MEP and lead rapporteur on the Digital Services Act)

As the European Union (hereafter, ‘EU’) positions itself as a global leader in digital regulation, it is more important than ever to challenge narratives that flatten disparities within the bloc. The disparities plaguing the bloc have very real implications for the nature and success or otherwise of regulatory implementation. Building on political and legal scholarship related to core-periphery dependencies within the EU, and extending beyond the prism of (Western) Eurocentricity that has limited the debate, in this blogpost we offer an analysis of the preliminary stages of the implementation and enforcement of the EU Digital Services Act (hereafter EU DSA) in the EU’s smallest member state, Malta, a former British colony, considered part of the EU’s southern periphery having acceded to the bloc in 2004 (Kukovec 2012, p. 1; Kukovec 2015, p. 408). As the hard work of implementation begins, we use the Maltese case to argue that before championing the effects of EU regulation beyond the EU’s borders there is an urgent need for a more honest search within them.