European Union – Law against the market power of the online giants is taking shape

Digital legislation in Europe has taken a big step forward. The Council of EU States on Thursday determined its negotiating position on two important digital laws. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to limit the power of internet giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google. The Digital Services Act (DSA) deals with societal issues such as hate speech or counterfeit products.

“Today we have reached an important milestone in creating a more open and competitive digital market,” said Slovenian Minister Zdravko Pocivalsek, referring to the DMA, on behalf of the current EU Council Presidency. On the sidelines of the meeting of the ministers responsible for the internal market and competition, the French minister Cédric O spoke of an “almost historic” day.

Schramböck: “Ambition could be bigger”

In the opinion of Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP), “the ambition of the proposed law to limit the market power of tech giants” could be a little bigger. “We will therefore be very involved in the next round of negotiations,” said Schramböck on Thursday in Brussels. Not only does it need fair access to the app stores, but also to the basic platforms of the major providers.

The industry association Bitkom said: “The Digital Markets Act provides important new impulses for fair competition in the EU.” At the same time, however, Bitkom complained that the new regulations only insufficiently take into account the far-reaching effects on European platforms, start-ups and cybersecurity issues.

The DMA aims at so-called gatekeepers (gatekeepers), which have a significant impact on the internal market. According to the EU states, this should include platforms such as search engines or social networks with at least 45 million active monthly users in the EU or 10,000 annual business customers. The threshold for annual sales is 6.5 billion euros. The gatekeepers must follow certain rules. If they do not do that, they face fines running into billions.

Edtstadler calls for “clear deadlines”

Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) is calling for the upcoming negotiations with the EU Parliament on the DSA to “agree clear deadlines within which illegal content can be deleted from the platform” and for a quick conclusion. “The fight against hatred on the Internet does not tolerate any further delays,” said Edtstadler in a broadcast.

The following applies to the DSA: What is prohibited offline should also be prohibited online – for example the sale of counterfeit products or illegal hate speech. The larger the platform, the more rules it has to observe. So far, the Internet has been a “jungle without any rules,” said the Lithuanian Minister Ieva Valeskaite.

Before the DMA and DSA become a reality, the EU states and the parliament still have to agree on a common line. To do this, Parliament first has to tighten its own position. That should finally happen in mid-December. Under the French EU Council Presidency, the negotiations should then be concluded in the first half of 2022. (apa / dpa / reuters)

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