An agreement between EU member states and the European Parliament has cleared the way for new rules aimed at curbing the power of the most powerful technology companies across the EU.
The European Commission, which proposed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in late 2020, has welcomed the agreement.
The regulations target ‘gatekeeper’ companies that the commission believes have prevented businesses and consumers from enjoying the benefits of competitive digital markets.
The rules will give the commission the power to impose penalties and fines of up to 10% of a company's worldwide turnover – and 20% in the event of repeated infringements.
The commission defines ‘gatekeepers’ as companies that create bottlenecks between businesses and consumers, and sometimes even control entire ecosystems. They include different platform services – such as online marketplaces, operating systems, cloud services or online search engines.
Under the DMA, these firms will be subject to several obligations and prohibitions, aimed at tackling unfair market practices, or practices that create or strengthen barriers for other companies.
“This regulation, together with strong competition-law enforcement, will bring fairer conditions to consumers and businesses for many digital services across the EU,” said Margrethe Vestager (pictured), the commissioner in charge of digital policy.
Thierry Breton (internal market commissioner) said that the commission would work “quickly” to designate companies as gatekeepers.
“Within six months of being designated, they will have to comply with their new obligations,” he added.