Vive l’interopérabilité!

Thursday, Jul 9, 2020

As expected, the French Senate voted last night to give the French government the power to implement the provisions of the DSM directive by way of ordnance/decree. This authorisation measure is part of a larger legislative package that seeks to implement a number of different EU Directives into French law.

While the addition of this authorisation measure was to be expected, another addition of to the law comes as a bit of a surprise: Against the advice of the government, the Senate also adopted an amendment that introduces sweeping provisions requiring the interoperability of online platforms.

While there is a lot of talk about interoperability in policy circles these days, legal requirements for interoperability of online platforms do not exist yet. Instead many observers expect such requirements to become part of the Digital Services Act that is slowly taking shape in Brussels.

Yesterdays surprise vote in the Senate has the potential to dramatically change the landscape here. The measures adopted yesterday would give French regulators broad powers to enforce interoperability of online platforms including the power to require platform operators to “implement technical interoperability standards identified by the authority”.

Should the text adopted by the Senate indeed become law (which seems likely at this point as the final vote in the National Assembly will be a simple yes/no vote that does not allow for further amendments of the text), France might have just supercharged the discussion about platform interoperability without anyone noticing.