Fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services

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Mnenje EESO: Fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposal for a regulation and considers it to be an important first step towards promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services. The EESC believes that this proposal is particularly important because it constitutes the first attempt to regulate B2B relations in the area of e-commerce, and recommends that it be approved swiftly in order to plug a clear legislative gap.
  • Nonetheless, the Committee considers that this regulation alone cannot resolve all the digital single market's problems and that it is unable to close the loop. The transparency, as a cornerstone of the regulation, will not suffice to regulate a highly dynamic and complex market, as is the case with the digital market. The disparities in terms of strength between global players and business users (particularly SMEs) can only be addressed by establishing clearer boundaries and relationships between stakeholders and combating abuse of a dominant position.
  • The EESC recommends including in the regulation a ban on price parity clauses, which continue to hinder competition and harm businesses and consumers and which could turn the major online platforms into oligopolies or monopolies. It is vital that consumers are able to buy goods and services at lower prices, that firms are able to build up their business effectively through their own websites and that new online platforms are able to grow and to operate with existing platforms on a level playing field.
  • The Committee also recommends prompt action to tackle the social dimension of digitalisation by triggering social dialogue. Tax dumping, the data economy and data ownership deserve the same level of consideration and should be tackled by means of a holistic approach, as the Commission is already doing in other fields.