EMMA: Europe’s masterplan to regulate digital gatekeeper platforms should not become an empty promise
In view of the European Council on the 21-22 October, EMMA and ENPA call upon the heads of state and government of the European Union not to give their go-ahead to a „Digital Markets Act“ that does not meet the requirements of finally curtailing the power of digital gatekeepers.
The „Digital Markets Act“ (DMA) has been presented as the European Union’s answer to unfair competition and abusive behaviours by the digital gatekeeper platforms. The EU was supposed to introduce an effective and balanced regulation of the digital space as it exists in traditional markets. The objective set is clear: create fair digital markets and encourage competition in Europe through regulation of the gatekeeper platforms so called core platforms services. The European Commission set out to counter abusive practices by addressing present market imbalances caused by the gatekeepers and reinstate a level playing field.
However, the drafts unfortunately fall significantly short of these objectives. To fulfil them, the proposals need to be considerably strengthened, as already suggested by some Member States in the Council of the European Union. If Europe wants to maintain its digital sovereignty and become truly fit for the digital age, it is essential that the co-legislators engage now in a substantial strengthening of the texts without any obstruction.
If Europe would now fail to get the future rules and obligations for gatekeepers right, Europe would forfeit a unique and historic opportunity and miss out on the digital decade. The European Union cannot remain idle and unambitious, while digital markets are being suffocated by a handful of companies with unprecedented power and sway.
Otherwise, European citizens must fear and expect that the gatekeeper platforms’ disruption of their rights, freedoms and choices in the digital space will only become worse. In addition, no more basic competition and therefore no more variety of offers for consumers, as nothing would be done about the gatekeepers’ incessant abuses, as found time and time again by European competition authorities. No more growth for European companies on digital markets. And freedom and pluralism of the media, as well as freedom of speech are under threat, if the gatekeepers’ algorithms continue to rule citizens’ choices online.
It cannot be in the European Commission’s or the Member States’ interest to pursue such a short-sighted approach that would deprive Europe from future-proof regulation and would only strengthen those platforms that it intends to regulate. Now is not the time for political opportunism.
EMMA & ENPA urgently call on the European Commission and the EU governments to take these concerns into account and not to rush towards adopting a DMA that would become an empty promise.