23 Nov, 2021

Digital Markets Act must deliver a true level playing field

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomed the adoption on 23 November by the IMCO Committee of the proposal for a contestable and fair markets in the digital sector (Digital Markets Act), which will regulate the behaviour of digital platforms acting as gatekeepers between business users and their customers in the EU. Given their economic power and control over entire digital ecosystems, it is very challenging for rivals and new market entrants to compete and for competition authorities to intervene properly.

Renew Europe believes that all businesses operating in the European Single Market, whether they are big or small, should be able to compete online freely and fairly, just as they do offline. Our goal is to prevent large digital gatekeepers from abusing their market position.

During a press conference in Strasbourg, Andrus Ansip MEP (Reform Party, Estonia), Vice-Chair of IMCO Committee and shadow rapporteur on DMA, said:

“The aim of the DMA is to keep the EU market harmonised, it is an internal market tool. The DMA purpose is to ensure effective competition in digital markets and in particular a fair and contestable online platform environment. It is not a protectionist or an anti-American piece of legislation. We share the goals with our US counterparts as we deal with the same issues as the US Congress and US courts - more level playing field for our companies and fair competition.”

Among the key changes to the European Commission’s proposal adopted by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee are:

  • The establishment of a European High-Level Group of Digital Regulators to ensure the consistent application of DMA.
  • Web browsers, virtual assistants and connected TVs are now part of the Core Platform Services and clearly defined.
  • The gatekeeper will refrain from combining personal data for targeted advertisement unless renewed user consent is given.
  • Creates a structured complaint mechanism for competitors, business and end-users.
  • Changes the fines the Commission may impose on a gatekeeper to a minimum of 4% and a maximum of 20% of its total worldwide turnover (previously 0% and 10%).

The European Parliament will vote on the DMA file during its December plenary session. If approved, the text becomes EP’s mandate to negotiate with the Council early next year, during the French Presidency.

Photo credit: Philippe Buissin, European Parliament 2021.

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