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Parliamentary questions
17 May 2018
E-001613/2018
Answer given by Ms Gabriel on behalf of the Commission

The Commission does not comment on ongoing national investigations like the one the Honourable Member is referring to.

The online platform economy plays an important role for businesses and citizens alike, as it enables innovation, opens markets and new business opportunities and allows businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to grow.

Given platforms' increasing importance for SMEs, some Member States have in place, or are in the process of introducing, platform-related measures to address trading practices they deem to be unfair. Coordinated action at European level is needed to prevent that the platform business-model is hampered in the future by private practices and legal fragmentation of the Digital Single Market. This is a prerequisite to allow platforms to start-up, function and grow in Europe.

Following also a resolution of the European Parliament(1) and on the basis of the results of the Commission's fact-finding exercise on platforms-to-business practices(2), the Commission adopted a platform-to-business Regulation proposal(3) on 26 April 2018, in line with its Digital Single Market mid-term review commitment, and President Juncker’s 2017 Letter of Intent.

It sets out a light touch approach based on targeted measures that will make the online platform ecosystems work more efficiently. The overall proposed solution consists of two pillars: increased transparency in the provision of online intermediation services and improved redress for their business users.

This is complemented by a third pillar, consisting of the creation of an expert group for the European observatory on the online platform economy for monitoring and analysis purposes(4). In parallel, the Commission will continue using its competition enforcement tools where appropriate.

(1)The European Parliament resolution of 15 June 2017 on online platforms and the digital single market (2016/2276(INI)).
(2)Report on the Business-to-Business relations in the online platform environment (ENTR/300/PP/2013/FC-WIFO Final Report, https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/04c75b09-4b2b-11e7-aea8-01aa75ed71a1/language-en.
(3)COM(2018)238 Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and Council on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services.
(4)Commission Decision C(2018)2393 setting up the expert group for the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy.

Last updated: 17 May 2018Legal notice