Online Platforms in Europe – next steps forward

04 February 2016 Author: EIFonline

The rise of the Digital and Sharing Economy puts Digital Service Platforms (aka Online Platforms) in the spotlight in Europe. Last year the European Commission launched a public consultation to gather evidence and views on the regulatory environment for platforms, with regard notably to liability of intermediaries, data and cloud, and the collaborative economy.

On 26 January the Commission released preliminary results and trends. That evening EIF hosted a dinner debate ‘Digital service platforms’. A crowded room once again confirmed that this topic is a priority for many EU stakeholders.
Just before the debate we invited our lead panelists to tell us what attitude toward digital platforms they think European legislators should take today. Watch what they had to say here:

MEP and EIF Steering Committee member Michal Boni opened the debate by inviting participants to look into the future of platforms in Europe: what conditions would help platforms to scale up in Europe and increase the growth of European platforms?

“Platforms are in the heart of the Digital Revolution at this advanced stage.”

He noted that because platforms must already comply with many existing regulations, new ones, if any, must not damage the further development of platforms in Europe.

Brian Williamson, Partner at Communications Chambers, cited the still evolving digital market and the opportunities it opens to EU businesses, even for creating platforms on platforms. He noted that platforms by their nature are diverse, making it difficult and possibly not effective at all to categorise platforms by their activities and apply different regulation to different sets of platforms.

Alfonso Lamadrid de Pablo, Senior Associate at GARRIGUES, considered how competition law affects digital platforms and vice versa.

Thibault Larger, Senior Consultant at Oxera, also spoke about difficulties in defining online platforms and intermediaries.

Gerard de Graaf, Director for the Digital Economy & Coordination at DG CONNECT, European Commission, noted that we need to put in place conditions for platforms, especially of European origin, to grow here. He spoke about the consultation results, which are yet to be analysed and will be announced on 1 June. Overall there seems to be widespread positive recognition of platform use but also identification of areas where public policy makers need to take a closer look, notably transparency, fair online practices, interoperability and data portability.

This EIF event was widely discussed on Twitter too. Here are some insights from the Twittershere:

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