An agreement has been reached between the EU Council and European Parliament on the Digital Markets Act.
The Digital Markets Act was provisionally agreed upon by the European Parliament and the European Council after several hours of negotiation which involved three-way talks between the Council, Commission and Parliament. Last week, the European Parliament released a statement that the lawmakers had come to an agreement. The agreed upon text focuses on “gatekeepers”, which are very large companies which provide core platform services, like social media platforms and search engines. This Act could result in these gatekeepers being fined up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover or 20% of that, in cases of repeat offences.
This Act will impose prohibitions on companies acting as “gatekeepers.”
Gatekeepers are considered to be companies such as social media platforms and search engines, which have a market capitalisation of minimum €75 billion, or an annual turnover of 7.5 billion, which provide its services to at least 45 million monthly users within the EU, and 10,000 business users. Gatekeepers providing messaging and social media services will be forced to interoperate with smaller messaging platforms. Users would have more choices available , when big or small, users would be able to use these apps to send messages, send files or make video calls across different apps, giving end users more choice.
This agreement represents a major step in the application of this regulatory framework, which helps avoid any form of overregulation of small businesses.
Once this legal text has been finalised, consumers should be able to use the core services of Big Tech companies, without losing control of their data. This Digital Markets Act will be finalised 20 days after it has been published in the EU Official Journal, with the rules themselves coming into force 6 months later. Overall, the news will be a huge step in ensuring that the business practices of these “gatekeepers” also allow for fair competition. A press conference was held on March 25th, by a representative from the European Parliament, the French Secretary of State for Digital Transition, on behalf of the Council, as well as Margrethe Vestager, the Commission Executive Vice-President and the Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton to commemorate the historic news.