Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, said at the EESC's May plenary session that "the Commission has been pushing for digital taxation because we need a global solution: it's unacceptable that some companies pay taxes and others don't". However, the Commissioner explained that the EU has to find a European solution first.
Luca Jahier, president of the EESC, introduced Margrethe Vestager as the European advocate for competition, a crucial issue for economic democracy: "If we allow the few to control data, they will control the economy and democracy, and then our future will be challenged". Commissioner Vestager agreed, stating that "huge amounts of information can give big businesses an edge that smaller rivals can’t match, so they can find it hard to compete, even with a better product, if they don’t have a critical mass of data or users". To remedy this market distortion, Vestager said that "one thing [the European Commission] may need to do to open up competition is to require companies to give rivals access to their data in order to give competitors a fair chance".
The Commissioner stressed that competition should also build citizens' trust in a digital world: "Some platforms collect data from millions or even billions of users, and know more about us than our loved ones, so we need to make sure that we tame the dark sides of this digital world". To this end, she said that the European Commission will protect "multi-homing" (which allows consumers to use more than one digital platform), and be "vigilant against online platforms that are so strong that they can act as market referee by fixing the rules for companies that want to be part of it". (dgf)