Today, the European Parliament approved the new Regulation on platform-to-business trading practices that is aimed at establishing a fair, trusted and innovation-driven environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, welcomed the outcome of the vote in a joint statement:
“We are delighted by the overwhelming support to the new rules on online platforms' trading practices among the members of the European Parliament. As the first-ever regulation in the world that addresses the challenges of business relations within the online platform economy, it is an important milestone of the Digital Single Market and lays the ground for future developments. Not only will it improve trust, predictability and legal certainty, it will also offer new and accessible options for redress and resolution of disputes between businesses and platforms.
The Regulation was designed with the millions of small and medium enterprises in mind, so that they will no longer be faced with unexplained account suspensions, opaque rankings in search results, unaffordable dispute resolutions and many other unfair practices. It will also greatly benefit consumers by incentivising businesses to become active on online platforms and in turn lead to an increased choice of goods and services, of better quality and at lower prices.
We are thankful to all of the parties involved, the EU Institutions and the Member States, for their great efforts to reach a good compromise in a very short period of time. This is yet another positive development ahead of the upcoming European elections.”
The text adopted today by the European Parliament still has to be formally approved by the Council of the European Union. Once approved, the Regulation will enter into force 12 months after its publication in the Official Journal.
The EU has also set up a dedicated Online Platform Observatory to monitor the evolution of the market and the effective implementation of the rules. The Observatory has already started its work and will advise the Commission on the need for further action.
Platforms allow fast and efficient access to the international consumers markets online, which is why they have become the go-to place for millions of successful businesses. However, it has been deemed important to address structural issues and to prevent unfair business trading practices.
The Commission's Communication on Online Platforms of May 2016 identified certain areas where more efforts are needed to ensure a trusting, lawful and innovation-driven ecosystem in the EU. As a result in April 2018 the Commission made a proposal for an EU Regulation on fairness and transparency in online platform trading as well as created an Observatory on the online platform economy. This initiative delivers on the commitment made in President Juncker's 2017 State of the Union address to safeguard a fair, predictable, sustainable and trusted business environment in the online economy. It is also part of the achievements of the Digital Single Market (being detailed in this blog post series by Vice-President Andrus Ansip).
The new rules are underpinned by an impact assessment that includes evidence and stakeholders' views collected during a two-year fact-finding exercise.
For more information
Press release: EU negotiators agree to set up new European rules to improve fairness of online platforms' trading practices