As part of eBay’s initiative “SMEs Fly-in”, online merchants from various European countries selling on eBay flew to Brussels to meet with representatives of the European institutions and to discuss the challenges and obstacles they face when selling on online platforms. On this occasion, Ecommerce Europe joined its Business Partner eBay to support the SMEs in getting their messages across Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
Of great interest for online merchants is the recently released proposal for a regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (Platforms-to-business proposal). Ecommerce Europe overall welcomes the Proposal. In particular, the European e-commerce association appreciates and supports the soft-touch and principle-based approach proposed by the policymakers. Online platforms, such as e-commerce marketplaces, are engines of growth and Ecommerce Europe wants to stress that this Regulation should struck the right balance between their interests and the interests of online merchants, especially SMEs.
This Regulation introduces principle-based obligations that are supposed to increase transparency, for instance with regard to terms and conditions and how ranking in search results works. In this context, Ecommerce Europe also recommends the co-legislators to keep the relative business safeguards, since we would not support an obligation for online platforms to disclose trade secrets such as algorithms.
In addition, Ecommerce Europe welcomes the fact that the draft law provides for a framework for setting up complaint handling systems and meditation between business users and platforms. In this context, we support self-regulation and, as representative of the e-commerce industry, we would like to engage with other stakeholders in setting up the necessary self-regulatory framework.
Ecommerce Europe will consult its members with regard to the draft Regulation, analyze its impact on the e-commerce sector and propose some adjustments in a detailed position that we will publish in the coming weeks.