November 29, 2021
The Council has agreed its position on the Commission’s proposal for a Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to ensure a competitive and fair digital sector with a view to promoting innovation, high-quality digital products and services, fair prices, and high quality and choice in the digital sector.
The Council says that a few large online platforms are acting as “gatekeepers” between businesses and consumers, creating bottlenecks in the economy through their market power and control over digital ecosystems. This negatively affects fair competition.
The aim of the proposal is to create a level playing field in the digital sector, with clear rights and obligations for large online platforms, so that companies and consumers can all benefit from digital opportunities.
The DMA is targeted at “gatekeepers” who control “core platform services”, i.e., platforms where the identified problems are most prominent. Core platform services include online intermediation services (i.e., marketplaces, app stores), online search engines, social networking, cloud services, advertising services, and more.
The main changes to the Commission proposal are to:
- shorten the deadlines and improve the criteria for the designation of “gatekeepers”;
- include an annex that defines “active end users” and “active business users”;
- improve the structure and the scope of obligations, making them clearer and more future-proof;
- propose a new obligation that enhances the right of end users to unsubscribe from core platform services;
- improve provisions on regulatory dialogue to ensure that the discretionary power of the Commission to engage in dialogue is used appropriately; and
- confirm the European Commission as the sole enforcer of the regulation to prevent fragmentation of the internal market; Member states can empower national competition authorities to start investigations into possible infringements and share their findings with the European Commission.
The agreed general approach provides the Council Presidency with a mandate for further discussions with the European Parliament, which are scheduled for 2022. To read the Council’s press release in full and for a link to the text of the agreed general approach, click here.