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Parliamentary questions
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8 April 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Carmen Avram
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Measures to address the impact of lockdowns and restrictions on local businesses

Lockdowns and restrictions on social life have been put in place across EU Member States as a necessary response to the COVID–19 pandemic. Such measures, although indispensable for reasons of public health, have severely impacted local businesses. Consumers can no longer visit their favourite local businesses. As a result, these businesses are losing customers and revenues, while internet searches for them have decreased significantly. All of this has had an immediate effect on local search service providers. Yelp had to withdraw its first quarter and full year 2020 financial guidance to the markets (1) .

Yelp stopped its business development in Europe at the end of 2016 as a result of Google’s exclusionary conduct. As a result, European consumers may be left with no alternative broad-based local search provider and be obliged to use Google Local. Given Yelp’s pending complaint against Google for exclusionary conduct in local searches:

1. Will the Commission open a formal investigation into Google’s exclusionary conduct in the local search market?

2. How will it ensure that European consumers are not left without an alternative broad-based local search provider to Google Local?

3. What measures does it plan to implement in order to restore competition in the online local search market after years of standstill owing to Google’s anticompetitive conduct?

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