Platforms offer unparalleled efficiencies in terms of access to cross-border consumer markets and have become the go-to interface for millions of successful firms.
While the gateway position of online platforms enables them to organise ecosystems of millions of users, it also opens a scope for certain unilateral trading practices that are harmful, and against which no effective redress is available for the businesses using these platforms.
Both direct harms to businesses, as well as the mere scope for such harm, undermine the innovation potential of platforms, which is exacerbated by emerging legal fragmentation.
The Commission therefore announced in its mid-term review of the Digital Single Market Strategy that it would deliver concrete actions on unfair contracts and trading practices in platform-to-business relations. This commitment to safeguard a fair, predictable, sustainable and trusted business environment in the online economy was confirmed in President Juncker's 2017 State of the Union address.
The proposal was underpinned by an impact Assessment that incorporates evidence and stakeholders' views collected during a two-year fact-finding exercise.
On 13 February 2019, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission reached a political deal on the first-ever rules aimed at creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders when using online platforms.
- Press release
- Questions & Answers
- Factsheet: Online platforms - new rules to increase transparency and fairness
- Proposal for an EU Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (April 2018)
- 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.