EU lawmakers approve host liability, checks, penalties – EURACTIV.com
the The settlement text, dated September 12 and seen by Euractiv, reaches agreements on several controversial elements in the file, which aims to regulate the data collection and sharing obligations of travel platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Trivago.
Two people working closely on the file told Euractiv, on condition of anonymity, that an agreement was reached during an informal shadow meeting on Tuesday, ahead of a vote on the text by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, scheduled for September 19. .
The EU Council agreed a common position on data collection and sharing on short-term accommodation rentals in March.
Responsibility of hosts
The new settlement text allows hosts to self-declare information about their short-term rental properties registered on platforms while including a provision for platforms to “use their best efforts to evaluate” whether the information declared is unlawful or not and that they should inform hosts of the applicable rules.
In her draft report published in May, European Parliament rapporteur Kim van Sparentack proposed making platforms responsible for such information declared by hosts to prevent the registration of illegal accommodations.
The provision has received significant opposition from liberals and center-right lawmakers, who have advocated self-advertising by hosts rather than burdening the platforms themselves. They considered that placing the burden on platforms goes beyond the main data goal – regulating data exchange – and moves into the area of regulating market access.
Furthermore, they argued that the provision in Van Sparentack’s draft report does not comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA), the EU’s main legislation regarding illegal online content moderation, which provides detailed processes for platforms hosting illegal content online. .
Van Sparentak explained to Lioractiv that she and her colleagues worked with experts to align this controversial article with the DSA.
How are checks made?
In its proposal, the European Commission proposed creating 27 “single digital entry points” to “facilitate the ability of online short-term rental platforms to randomly verify (…) the accuracy of self-declarations.”
These individual digital entry points are data repositories created by Member States.
Center-left and Green members of the European Parliament decided to keep the Commission’s proposal, while center-right lawmakers, the platforms themselves and Josiane Cutajar, rapporteur of the Transport and Tourism Committee, opposed it.
This group pushed for the establishment of a single digital entry point instead of 27, under the supervision of the European Commission.
However, Amaryllis Verhoeven, head of the digital transformation of industry at the European Commission, said in June during a committee hearing that the Commission was working with member states to organize 27 entry points that would operate in a “fully interoperable way.”
The penetrating text mixes disparate positions. Single digital entry points remain the prerogative of Member States, while the Commission has been tasked with developing a common, interoperable technical interface.
In addition, a provision has been added enabling the Commission to assess “the need to establish a single central digital entry point at EU level”, at least in four years, providing a unique interface for all Member States, if they deem it appropriate. .
Regularity of checks
Progressive members of the European Parliament wanted to set a specific number for mandatory regulatory checks carried out by platforms on their accommodation listings. Shadow Rapporteur Brando Benevi (Social Democratic Party) proposed annual checks of “at least 20% of lists” in his amendment.
However, this was a no-go for fellow conservatives, who deemed it too cumbersome for the platforms and refused to put a number on it.
The settlement amendments appear to have favored the latter, stating that platforms must “make reasonable efforts to randomly verify listings” without placing a number or frequency.
The left, centre-left and Greens proposed amendments in favor of tougher sanctions than those imposed by liberal and centre-right EU lawmakers.
In the compromise text, the proposal to “withdraw” the rental housing license was dropped. Alternatively, authorities can “suspend” the license, allowing hosts to comply with local and national laws.
In the event of recidivism, the text states that the competent national or local authority can “take appropriate additional measures to prevent the commercialization of the unit,” which appears to keep the door open for withdrawal where permitted by domestic law.
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee is scheduled to vote on these eight waived amendments on Tuesday, September 19.
If approved, the committee will also vote on authorization for negotiations between the institutions.
(Edited by Natalie Weatherald)