European Parliament’s approach jeopardizes Platform-to-Business relations


Ecommerce Europe is concerned that the Report adopted on 6 December by the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament will impose unreasonable burdens on the e-commerce industry. The adopted text fails in striking a good balance between the interests of online platforms, on the one hand, and the interests of online merchants, especially SMEs, on the other hand.

“The IMCO Report worryingly drives away from the principle-based approach originally proposed by the European Commission and confirmed by the Competitiveness Council last week with potential negative effects for the e-commerce ecosystem. Online platforms, such as marketplaces, are engines of growth and we want to stress that this Regulation should create a balanced, EU-wide framework for healthy relations between them and their business users”, declared Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe.

Ecommerce Europe welcomed the General Approach adopted on 29 November by the Competitiveness Council, which overall reflects the original Commission’s aim of having a principle-based solution for regulating the relations between platforms and business users. In fact, the Council did not introduce unreasonable “hard rules” for B2B (or P2B) relations, nor confusing and non-practical legal norms like fairness, non-discrimination and unfair practices. Furthermore, it did not extend the scope to device operating systems and B2C provisions in what should be a purely B2B regulation.

In this sense, Ecommerce Europe believes that the European Parliament’s IMCO Report goes too far and we urge EU negotiators to restore and agree on a light-touch approach during the upcoming inter-institutional negotiations. Only such an approach can ensure the essential contractual freedom, competition and further innovation that the market needs and that platforms and business users are asking for, and which the Parliament’s text would ultimately put at risk.

Ecommerce Europe will provide further guidance to the EU negotiators in view of the trialogue negotiations accordingly.

Please click here for our position paper.