Bitkom on EU initiatives for digital markets

  • EU Commission proposes Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act 

Berlin, 15th December 2020 - Today, the European Commission presents proposals for a new legal framework for digital services - the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. The former is mainly intended to clarify issues of liability for and dealing with illegal content, which have so far been regulated by the e-commerce directive.

Bitkom welcomes the fact that with this draft, the Commission is committing itself to the basic principles of the free internet that were established 20 years ago with the e-commerce directive. This concerns the so-called limited liability regime, the prohibition of general monitoring obligations and the country of origin principle, all of which are to be preserved with the proposal. "The framework presented today is the most significant and comprehensive change to European internet regulation in 20 years," says Bitkom President Achim Berg. "The Digital Services Act must strengthen the cornerstones of the free internet. They are crucial to ensure that more innovative online services can emerge in the European digital single market."

According to the draft, the Digital Services Act also regulates how companies should deal with illegal content on their online platforms in order to protect consumers. "Illegal content online is a big problem and we need to get a better grip on it. We welcome that the EU wants to further develop the rules to fight illegal content," said Berg. "It is crucial that different platforms are not lumped together under one regulatory umbrella. Online services should be allowed to choose those measures and instruments that work best for their service."

With the Digital Markets Act, the EU wants to update competition rules and at the same time impose new bans on practices of so-called gatekeeper platforms. "The EU must ensure fair competition in the digital sphere. New bans or control instruments should only be used if there is a clear market failure," said Berg. Incentives for innovation for newly emerging platforms must be maintained and expanded. From Bitkom's point of view, it is particularly positive that the control and enforcement of the new regulations is to be established directly at EU level. "This is an important step towards a harmonised single market," says Berg. "With the General Data Protection Regulation, we have recently seen how problematic an inconsistent interpretation of rules can be."

A detailed Bitkom statement on the revision of the e-commerce directive within the framework of the Digital Services Act is available for download: https://www.bitkom.org/Bitkom/Publikationen/Digital-Services-Act-Revision-der-E-Commerce-Richtlinie

Marie Anne Nietan

Marie Anne Nietan

Bereichsleiterin Medienpolitik
Bitkom e.V.