Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s head of competition and digital policy, has urged the European Parliament and the European Council to agree to rules to limit the power of big tech companies as a matter of urgency, even if they are imperfect.
speaking before FT-ETNO Technology and Policy Forum “It’s important for everyone to realize that it’s better to get 80 percent now than 100 percent ever,” Vestager said on Monday. “This is another way of saying that perfection should not be the enemy of what is very good.”
Vestager’s appeal comes after nearly a year of discussions between regulators and lawmakers in the European Union, who have struggled to agree on the exact wording of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA). DMA was created to force so-called gateway, such as Google, to ensure more equal terms on their online platforms, while the DSA seeks to clarify how large online companies should block illegal content from their systems.
Vestager has left open the possibility for lawmakers to review the new rules once they are enacted, which means they will be brought to the European Parliament and the Federation Council again.
We won’t let another 20 years pass before we come back again [the legislation]. “With the position of Parliament and the House, we can put together a very strong rulebook that can be implemented soon,” Vestager said. “We have a lot of companies waiting and asking for equal opportunity.”
The latest draft of the DMA was voted on by MEPs in the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) on November 22, ahead of a public vote in December.
DMA would affect companies with a market capitalization of at least €80 billion – including Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft – and prevent Big Tech from ranking its own services above its competitors.
DSA has not been put to a vote before the IMO; But his draft proposals and the DMA were backed by the European Council on November 25.
The final step for the DMA and the DSA involves a three-way discussion between the Commission, Parliament and the Council to agree on a common position before they become law.
On Monday, a letter signed by the chief executives of 12 of Europe’s largest telecom companies, including Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone, will call for “concrete and immediate action” from lawmakers on these tech rules.
Vestager said the Brussels legislation would want to show “all these many companies that democracy serves and enables market access”.