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Parliamentary questions
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10 February 2020
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager
Question reference: E-003869/2019

The remedy implemented by Google in the Google Shopping case is monitored by the Commission, on a continuous basis, as a matter of high priority. To date, the take-up of the compliance mechanism by competitors of Google Shopping, who could not have displayed their offers in the Shopping Unit before the decision of June 2017, has substantially increased.

In June 2018, only one third of Shopping Units included at least one competitor, and around 6% of clicks in the Unit went to competitors. In November 2019, 81% of Shopping Units include at least one offer of a competitor, and 45.9% of clicks go to these competitors. The Commission takes good note of concerns in relation to Google’s compliance, which have been raised by a number of complainants, and assesses these on an ongoing basis.

As regards the length of investigations, the Commission has demonstrated in a range of cases in the digital sector over the years that it is able to reach decisions in a timely and effective manner.

The Commission is nonetheless engaged in an ongoing reflection on the digitisation of the economy and the role of competition policy, in addition to setting up an Observatory on the Online Platform Economy. One of the products of this reflection is the report of the special advisers to Commissioner Vestager, titled ‘Competition policy for the digital era’.

The report finds that competition law can and should continue to accompany and guide the evolution of digital markets. It also makes proposals to improve competition enforcement . The Commission is also reflecting on the need for possible solutions going beyond individual cases, which may be based on competition law, but also include additional ex ante regulation on specific systemic issues concerning the digital markets.

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