Online platforms will be subject to new fairness and transparency requirements.
The European Commission estimates there are approximately 7000 online marketplaces and platforms operating in the EU, ranging from tech giants to startups. 43% of small and medium companies in the EU are thought to use online marketplaces to sell products and services. The EC is concerned that the platforms and marketplaces often have considerable bargaining power compared to their business users trading on them.
As part of the Digital Single Market project, the EC proposed a new Regulation intended to create "a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms". Political agreement on the draft Regulation on fairness and transparency in online platform trading (the Online Platforms Regulation or OPR) has been reached.
The draft Regulation now needs to be formally adopted. The final text had not been published at the time of writing but the compromise text can be found here. We will provide further analysis when the final version of the full text is available.
The OPR will introduce:
The new rules will apply primarily to online platforms and marketplaces, and, in relation to rules on transparency, to search engines. They will apply 12 months after the OPR comes into effect. It is unclear what the impact of Brexit will be on whether or not the UK implements the same or equivalent rules.