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Country of Origin

According to the current country of origin principle, the legal provisions of the state of establishment are decisive, if information society services are provided.

The cooperation of member states for enforcement reasons of other member states has to be established – for example: a Dutch based platform is in breach of Austrian, but not Dutch, rules. In some cases, Austria needs Dutch permission to prosecute. Thus, digital companies currently tend to use the principle of country of origin to opt for those Member States where conditions are optimal for them in terms of regulations, taxation or the entire legal system. Negative consequences for the effective fulfilment of public tasks are the result. Adequate and robust cooperation between the country of origin and the country of destination is needed.

This can be achieved by strengthening the country of destination in terms of digital companies complying with the public interest in the member state operating in. In case of conflict between these two principles the national provisions of the state in which the service provider offers information, society services should apply.

There are certain passages of the current E-Commerce Directive, that outline areas where a deviation of the country of origin principle is possible and even areas where the whole Directive does not apply. It’s crucial to extend these areas to better reflect the issues the public sector is dealing with and to provide it with the necessary tools to protect its reasonable public interests. The regional and municipal levels are mostly challenged in this context.