Today, the European Commission has put forward a proposal “about the transparency and targeting of political advertising as part of the measures designed to protect the lawfulness of elections and an open democratic debate”. Under such rules, “any advertising message of a political nature should be clearly qualified as such and should provide details, for instance, of those who funded it and how much it cost”. Political targeting and amplification techniques “should be publicly explained – the European Commission specifies in a notice – and at an unprecedented level of detail, and should be banned when using sensitive personal data without the express consent of the party concerned”. In addition, the European Commission proposes to update the EU rules on “mobile citizens” and their voting rights at European and municipal elections, as well as on European political parties and European political foundations. Deputy president Věra Jourová states: “Elections should not be a competition between those who use ambiguous and non-transparent methods. The citizens should know why they watch a commercial, who funded it, how much it cost, and what microtargeting criteria have been used. The new technology should be a tool of emancipation, not of manipulation. This ambitious proposal will bring an unprecedented level of transparency in political campaigns and will restrict ambiguous targeting techniques”.
Now, such proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and by the EU Council. To make sure the 2024 European Parliament election takes place according to the highest democratic standards, the new rules should be enforced and be fully implemented by the member states by spring 2023, that is, one year before the election.