Reflection on the Digital Markets Act IMCO Report

By Vincent Ehrmann

On Thursday, December 9th, SME Europe of the EPP organized a webinar titled “Reflection on the Digital Markets Act IMCO Report” to explore the current DMA proposal and legislative framework in view of December’s plenary session.

Hosted by Ivan Stefanec MEP, IMCO, ITRE and AIDA Committees, President SME Europe of the EPP, and moderated by Mark Degro, Political Advisor to Mr. Stefanec, the webinar saw a high-level, expert panel comprised of Dr. Christan Rusche, Senior Economist for Industrial Organization and Competition from the German Economic Institute in Cologne; Alexis Waravka, Head of Digital and Competitiveness at Independent Retail Europe; Niccolo Ciulli, Advisor for the Competitiveness and Commercial Relations at EuroCommerce; and Christoph Riedmann, Digital Policy Advisor for EuroChambers.

Ivan Stefanec MEP opened the floor by stressing the importance of the Digital Market Act (DMA), considering it the most important piece of legislation for the IMCO Committee and the European Parliament. The DMA grants stable, simple, and fair framework in this field. It furthers guarantees no market fragmentation within the European Market, which is very important to SMEs.

Christian Rusche continued to point out that the DMA creates a level playing field for big players and SMEs. This is crucial, as European SMEs lack behind big platforms from America or Asia. He further welcomed the ban of M&A of platforms as a means of taking out competition or putting pressure on SMEs.

Alexis Waravka brought up ongoing complaints by independent retailers of large online platforms and their practices, especially when competing in the same sector. He also welcomed the DMA, especially underlining the importance of targeted advertisement for SMEs. He further wanted to focus on virtual assistance as a major gateway to retailers.

Representing commerce associations form over 30 European countries, Niccolo Ciulli remarked the importance of digitalization in sales. In Germany, for instance, half of all sales have a digital element. This development has been accelerated by the pandemic and highlights the importance of marketplaces, as they offer SMEs the possibility to sell their goods online even if they lack resources to go online independently. Furthermore, he stressed the significance of the DMA’s framework for predictability, legal certainty, and future investments in that area.

Christoph Riedmann concluded the debate by giving a future perspective for marketplaces. The focus should be on SME and consumers, that have been given rights under the DMA. In addition, he referred to the advantages of ex-ante prosecution of platforms to speed up procedures. The applications of the DMA itself also carries great weight, as EU and national authorities must work together to effectively accomplish its execution and implementation.