Proposal on platforms is a good step forward to clarify relations with online merchants


Ecommerce Europe overall welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s Proposal for a Platform Regulation. 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 has the potential to bring more clarity in the relations between online merchants and the platforms through which they sell. Considering that some Member States are legislating in this field, a single, fully harmonized European framework for ‘platforms-to-business’ relations would bring more legal certainty for all parties involved”, declared Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe. “We will support this proposal as far as the soft-touch approach will be kept.”

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.