Members' Research Service By / July 12, 2022

Towards new rules on transparency and targeting of political advertising [EU Legislation in Progress]

Electoral campaign rules, including those relating to political advertising, are crucial to guarantee that electoral processes are free and fair, and that all candidates have equal opportunities to address potential voters.

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Written Maria Diaz Crego (2nd edition, updated on 31.01.2023).

Political advertising is central to informing and influencing how people vote, and may affect citizens’ perceptions of the legitimacy of their own political system, particularly when published in the run-up to elections. Rules governing political advertising are therefore key to guaranteeing citizens’ fundamental rights and the integrity of democratic processes. Rules governing political propaganda during electoral periods are naturally therefore a focal point of electoral law.

Traditional rules on campaigning can however be ineffective or difficult to enforce in an online environment where new techniques are being used to target potential voters, with tailored political messages based on large amounts of personal data revealing their sensibilities.

To address the new challenges posed by online electoral campaigns, the European Commission presented a proposal for a harmonised set of rules on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. These would apply to both online and offline political advertising. The proposal is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council, under the ordinary legislative procedure. In the Parliament, the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) is responsible for the file and adopted its report on 24 January 2023. The Parliament is expected to vote on the report during its February I plenary.


Proposal for a regulation of the European parliament and of the Council on the transparency and targeting of political advertising
Committee responsible:Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO)COM(2021) 731l
Rapporteur:Sandro Gozi (Renew, France)2021/0381(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Pablo Arias Echeverría (EPP, Spain)
Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques (S&D, Portugal)
Alexandra Geese (Greens, Germany)
Virginie Joron (ID, France)
Adam Bielan (ECR, Poland)
Stelios Kouloglou (The Left, Greece)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Committee vote on the draft report
timeline-10 steps-voted in plenary

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