The European Parliament and the European Council have reached a provisional agreement on the proposed Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) which is stipulated to come into force from 2023 onwards.
The DMA is targeted towards large tech firms coined as “gatekeepers” and is focused on creating the digital sector more competitive and fairer amongst both consumers and other businesses. Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager stated, “This regulation, together with strong competition law enforcement, will bring fairer conditions to consumers and businesses for many digital services across the EU.”
What constitutes a gatekeeper under the DMA?
Both the European Parliament and the European Council have agreed that in order for a tech firm to be classed as gatekeeper, it needs to pass several requirements:
Notably, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises are exempted from being classed as a gatekeeper apart for exceptional scenarios, in line with proportionality.
Who enforces the DMA?
The European Commission shall be the sole enforcer for the DMA whilst an advisory committee will be established to facilitate this endeavour.
On a national level, Member States shall be able to vest power within national antitrust authorities to communicate with the European Commission.
What fines and penalties may be imposed on gatekeepers under the DMA?
The maximum fine for an infraction in 10% of the firm’s total worldwide turnover. In the case of recidivism, the fine of 20% of the firm’s total worldwide turnover may be imposed. If an infraction occurs more than 3 times in 8 years, the European Commission can open an investigation and impose both structural and behavioural remedies.
For more information on digital services, information society and related areas please contact Dr Ian Gauci.