Last Monday EU President Juncker said he thought the EU had been meddling in matters which more properly should be dealt with by individual Member States. He went on to say
We were wrong to over-regulate and interfere too much
If this is going to become the new orthodoxy we can anticipate a growing drive to say anything and everything to do with children and young people, or at any rate a very great deal, should be dealt with by Member States. How all that will be squared with and play out in relation to a Digital Single Market and universalist notions of children’s rights will be interesting, challenging and messy.
It is undoubtedly true that, in the past, parts of the children’s lobby have looked to Brussels to require action on issues which certain Member States otherwise showed every intention of ignoring for as long as possible if not forever. I am thinking in particular about the (excellent) Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (sic)
Maybe those days are over, or at any rate are going into hibernation.
Either way, and against the background of the farce with the GDPR, it does make you wonder what role there could or should be for bodies such as the CEO Coalition and other formations which are supposed to be looking for EU-wide multi-stakeholder voluntary solutions to the many remaining problems children and young people face in cyberspace.
My hunch is, if the DSM remains a dominant driver – which I think is likely to be the case – there will be an increased emphasis on looking at issues that have a bearing on the operation of the market rather than narrowly child welfare or child development aspects.
Quite how you can do one without the other or how you resolve the tensions is where another bit of messiness will creep in.