Vestager meets the European Parliament to discuss the digital market and services

Camilla Palla

An exchange of views on the new DMA and DSA packages took place on Tuesday February 23 between the EU Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and the members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Consumers and the Internal Market (IMCO). The two packages, designed to change the current framework for digital services, are considered among the key initiatives of the legislature. The Digital Market Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) are in fact the new regulatory frameworks that will regulate the digital single market and the so-called platform economy, ensuring its competitiveness and establishing uniform rules in which users’ fundamental rights are effectively protected.

In her speech, Vestager presented the legislative proposals, pointing out that this will not be a mere revision of the current regulatory framework, which includes among others the e-commerce directive. The aim is to create a homogeneous and common legal framework, which sets out rules that apply to all digital services, including social media, online marketplaces and other platforms operating in the European Union, and which serves as a solid basis for dealing with current challenges such as security, misinformation, the sale of counterfeit or dangerous goods, the removal of illegal content and, finally, unfair market access competition for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The starting point is consumer protection.  MEPs focused on how Big Tech companies access and use users’ personal data, and on finding effective tools to ensure product safety, including the issue of the limited liability of platforms for product quality.

A further point of discussion concerned the issue of competition. The rapid evolution of the digital sector, especially concerning the growing weight of platforms and intermediaries, poses a major challenge with regard to the effectiveness of the rules and the applicability of sanctions in the event of infringement. In particular, a sensitive point raised by MEPs refers to the EU executive’s ability to exercise effective control over the so-called gatekeepers, in order to avoid episodes of unfair competition and to also ensure fair access to smaller businesses, first and foremost, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Finally, the Parliament’s IMCO Committee welcomed a new principle introduced by the two legislative proposals, the so-called Know Your Business Customer (KYBC), whereby online platforms will always be required to verify the identity of sellers. This is a key tool in the fight against the trade in dangerous goods and products online.

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