The continued growth of online platforms clearly offers people and businesses societal benefits. Yet it also causes the Dutch cabinet some concern: the entry of new businesses may be restricted, and the free choice of online consumers and businesses may be jeopardized. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) have written a discussion paper explaining their position.
Three proposals for amending competition rules
In May, Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer sent a letter to the Dutch House of Representatives, containing three proposals for regulatory interventions in the case of competition problems in the digital economy. At the European level, Ms. Keijzer will argue for more appropriate criteria for acquisition notifications, for example, also taking into consideration the acquisition’s transaction value in addition to turnover.
In addition, guidelines need to be clarified with regard to the application of competition rules to online platforms, for example, how the role of data is taken into account when assessing competition questions regarding platforms. And the Dutch cabinet would also like to grant ACM powers to intervene in advance if a platform threatens to obtain a position that consumers and businesses can no longer ignore.
ACM supports the proposal for such an ex-ante tool, because we see that especially the speed with which the existing regulatory instruments operate are not always able to lead to results. Together with EZK, ACM has written a discussion paper in which we further explore the ideas behind an ex-ante tool. With this paper, ACM and EZK over the next few months wish to contribute, for example, to the next European Commission’s policy agenda.