Internet companies could get bans if they break the rules: EU industry boss

The services of technology companies could be banned from the European market if they do not comply with the regulations of the European Union, European industry boss Thierry Breton told the German weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag when the European Commission laid down the regulations for Internet companies. On December 2nd, Breton, together with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, will announce new draft regulations, known as the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.

The rules provide a list of pros and cons for gatekeepers – online businesses with market power – forcing them to share data with competitors and regulators and not to advertise their services and products unfairly

The new draft regulations come from critics of US technology giants, which include companies and industry associations, questioning the EU’s decisions against the alphabet unit Google, saying that they have not put a stop to their allegedly anti-competitive behavior. Some want EU enforcers to go further than just order companies to stop such practices. The draft regulation would allow the EU to ban companies or part of their services from the 27-country bloc as an extreme option

Until the draft regulation is adopted, EU antitrust law and digital regulators are currently not empowered to impose such bans. “Strict rules must be enforceable,” Breton told Welt am Sonntag. “For this we need the appropriate arsenal of possible measures: impose fines, exclude companies or parts of their services from the internal market, insist that they separate if they want to keep access to the internal market or a combination of all these measures.”

He added that these sanctions would only apply to companies that fail to comply with EU rules and that the toughest measures would only be used in exceptional cases. As a sign of how much tech companies fear the new regulation, the Google unit launched a 60-day strategy last month to get US allies to defend themselves against the EU’s digital boss.


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