The EU Regulation on platform-to-business relations (P2B regulation), which entered into force in July 2019, is the first-ever set of rules creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders on online platforms.
Along with the new rules, the Commission created the Observatory on the online platform economy in order to monitor the latest trends in this sector. Platforms must comply with the P2B Regulation before it starts to apply on 12 July 2020.
Why it matters
Platforms offer unparalleled efficiencies in access to cross-border markets and are crucial for millions of successful firms. While the gateway position of online platforms enables them to organise millions of users, it also opens the possibility unilateral trading practices that are harmful, and against which no effective redress is available for the businesses using these platforms.
Both direct harm to businesses, as well as the possibility for such harm, undermine the innovation potential of platforms.
With this regulation, the Commission delivers on this commitment to take actions on unfair contracts and trading practices in platform-to-business relations.
The Regulation is accompanied by an Impact Assessment that incorporates evidence and stakeholders' views collected during a two-year fact-finding exercise.
The Commission has published guidelines that address the main requirements for online platforms identified in the Regulation, from the need to identify key algorithmic parameters behind ranking to their communication to businesses. They will help online platforms make the right information available to businesses so that they in turn can consider how best to increase and manage their online visibility, enabling consumers to ultimately receive the highest quality goods and services. They will also provide valuable support for the adequate and effective enforcement of the transparency requirement to ensure online platforms are acting fairly in their ranking practices.
These guidelines are not legally binding.
The Commission has prepared a Q&A document (.pdf) that can serve as a checklist for online platforms and search engines, particularly smaller ones, when implementing the new requirements. It will help businesses get information on their new rights and the options available to resolve problems that may arise in their commercial relationships with online platforms. It also contains useful information for online intermediation services, search engines and representative organisations or associations.
- Press release
- Questions & Answers
- Factsheet: Online platforms - new rules to increase transparency and fairness
- EU Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (July 2019)
- Decision on setting up the group of experts for the Observatory on the Online Platform Economy (April 2018)
- Impact Assessment and its executive summary, accompanying the proposal for an EU Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (April 2018)
- Inception Impact Assessment: the Commission sought stakeholders' views on a range of policy options and received a large number of position papers
- Communication on the Mid-Term Review of the Digital Single Market Strategy (2017)
- Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market (2016)
- Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market (2016).
Studies and reports
- Study on Business-to-business relations in the online platform environment
- Study on contractual relationships between online platforms and their professional users
- Study on data in platform-to-business relations
- Reports by the Commission's Joint Research Centre:
- Public Consultation: Synopsis report with more than 1000 responses
- Focus groups with different stakeholder groups to map and test possible solutions:
- Workshops with different stakeholder groups to collect and test evidence:
- With business users of platforms: on, respectively, platforms' terms and conditions, data related issues and algorithms, ranking and transparency
- With online platform companies: first to exchange views on possible issues reported by business users of platforms
- With experts from Member States and academia on effective dispute resolution and the fundamental right to conduct a business.