Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission has welcomed today’s agreement by member states and the European Parliament on the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
Noting that the DMA was proposed roughly a year ago, the Commission declared it the first initiative “to comprehensively regulate the gatekeeper power of the largest digital companies.”
European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, reiterated the EC’s commitment to ensuring that digital markets are open, fair and contestable.
“We are now taking a huge step forward to get there”, she said, pointing out how large tech companies “have prevented businesses and consumers from the benefits of competitive digital markets.”
The EU’s new rules will rein in digital gatekeepers and make digital markets fairer, Vestager asserted.
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market, assured that the EC would use objective criteria to designate gatekeepers, adding that there would be a grace period of six months to comply with the new rules.
“Through effective enforcement, the new rules will bring increased contestability and fairer conditions for consumers and business users, which will allow for more innovation and choice in the market”, he stressed.
The EC described gatekeepers as companies which “create bottlenecks between businesses and consumers, and sometimes even control entire ecosystems, made up of different platform services such as online marketplaces, operating systems, cloud services or online search engines.”
These companies would now face new, clearly defined obligations and prohibitions designed to ensure that digital markets are contestable.
The new rules and their enforcement would make for a more accountable and safer online environment, the Commission said, calling the DMA an important part of its plan to make the EU “fit for the digital age.”
The EU Council and the Parliament still have to formally approve the DMA. Then, after six months, it will come into force and apply across the bloc.
The EC proposed the new rules at the end of 2020 as a response to business practices by tech giants. The Commission is to be the sole enforcer of the new provisions under which gatekeepers will be liable for fines of up to 20% of their global turnover for repeated infringements.