EU Commission should be the sole enforcement of tech rules, EU countries agree

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Representatives from EU countries have agreed that the European Commission will be the sole enforcement of the new technical rules, with a limited role for the national antitrust watchdogs instead of the broader powers sought for them, officials said on Monday.

EU ministers will formally ratify the deal on November 25 as part of the bloc’s common position, before negotiations with EU lawmakers and the Commission on what is known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) before it enters into force can kick.

The DMA, proposed last year by EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, aims to restrict the powers of the alphabet unit Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon with a list of dos and don’ts.

German and French antitrust authorities and their counterparts in the other 25 EU countries pleaded in a joint letter in June for a greater role in the enforcement of the DMA and cited their expertise in digital cases.

“The Commission is the only authority empowered to enforce this regulation,” says an EU document that was agreed by an EU Council working group and viewed by Reuters.

“To assist the Commission, Member States can empower the competent authorities enforcing the competition rules to investigate possible violations of gatekeepers’ obligations,” the document says.

It was said that the EU executive had full discretion as to whether or not to open an investigation.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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