Working Paper: Designing an EU intervention standard for digital platforms

A consensus is emerging around the world about the need for policymakers to address certain characteristics and competitive tendencies that are generated by digital platforms or digital ecosystems, potentially reforming the public policy instruments currently in place so that they are suited to the digital age.

In its new Digital Strategy, the European Commission indicates that that it will evaluate and review the fitness of EU competition rules for the digital age. A specific point of contention is how will the Commission ensure that large platforms, with significant network effects and acting as gatekeepers, remain fair and contestable for innovators, businesses, and new market entrants?

In this working paper Peter Alexiadis and Alexandre de Streel begin by reviewing the relevant precedents under EU competition law and economic regulation upon which this reform could be based. The paper recommends to adapt competition rules,  in particular as regards the determination of market power and the application of theories of harm, and a cumulative ‘three criteria test’ to determine the types of digital platforms upon which competition rules should focus. Consideration is given to the types of remedies potentially imposed on those platforms and, lastly, the paper proposes adapting existing antitrust guidelines, extending the power of DG Competition and working closely with National Regulatory Agencies.

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