Woman using a computer and a smartphone
25 February 2020

Regulation of digital platforms: launch of a European working group

In the wake of the European Commission's presentation of its strategy for data, on Monday 24 February 2020 Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Cédric O, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, organised a working seminar bringing together some one hundred experts from European institutions and Member States to discuss the economic regulation of platforms with significant market power at European level.

In the communication presented on Wednesday 19 February, the European Commission says that it will examine the possibility of setting up "ex ante" regulation of large digital platforms, a position that Bruno Le Maire and Cédric O have been advocating for several months now, in their calls for specific regulation of these stakeholders at European level.

The seminar organised on 24 February 2020 aimed at bringing together the competent experts of European institutions and some Member States with an interest in this issue, with a view to defining potential criteria for designating such platforms. The notions of "abuse of a dominant position" and "essential facility" were debated in particular, in light of the issues raised by the data economy.

After this meeting, a team of representatives from the main French competent authorities where digital platform regulation is concerned is expected to be set up to continue working on the guidelines laid down by the European Commission in the context of the Digital Services Act, announced for the end of 2020.

Beyond the implications of the economic regulation of platforms with significant market power, this cross-government team will thus be tasked with informing proposals bearing on platform accountability, in terms of both:
  • eliminating hate content;
  • protecting consumers, more particularly as regards online marketplaces.
"There's not a moment to lose in beginning work with all of our European partners on building an ambitious and credible framework for regulating large digital platforms, particularly given their lock-in power regarding the data economy. Our citizens are asking this of us, and of Europe, which is the critical level for taking effective action".
Cédric O, Minister of State for the Digital Sector

France applauds the European Commission's commitment to digital technology

On Wednesday 19 February 2020, the European Commission unveiled its digital priorities, including its strategy for data and artificial intelligence. It also outlined the future Digital Services Act, announced for the end of 2020.

The French Government welcomes the proposals set out by the European Commission which particularly chime with the priorities that the President of the Republic has underscored in terms of digital regulation and independence.

For Bruno Le Maire, "the road map unveiled by the European Commission shows that there is renewed willingness to develop a European vision for continent-wide technological independence. The European Union cannot afford to make do with being a simple market; we need to scale up our efforts to shape a strategic vision in favour of groundbreaking innovation and critical technologies".

For his part, Cédric O maintains that "we need to give ourselves the wherewithal at European level to address the challenges before us: weigh in on the technology front, particularly through the emergence of corporate leaders, and update our regulatory framework given the clout the tech giants have over our economies and democracies. We will continue to work with the Commission and our European partners to fulfil this vision".