Platforms & markets: Towards an open competitive digital space

On 2 December 2020, the European Commission will propose a new piece of legislation, the Digital Markets Act, which will likely define a set of obligations to address imbalances in digital markets and to tackle issue such as illegal content online. This piece of legislation will update the legal framework set by the e-commerce Directive of 2000, which fundamentally shapes the online environment today. For instance, under the current rules, online platforms are not legally responsible for illegal content posted on platforms or circulated via their channels but have to remove it once they have become aware of it.

The internet has evolved significantly over the past years. In contrast to the early days of the internet, which relied on openness and interoperability, many services offered by large online platforms (such as messaging, social media, etc.) are accessible only in closed-off proprietary environments that rely on network effects, lock-in their users and are largely shielded from competition. The European Commission recognises that while there are over 10,000 online platforms operated in Europe’s digital economy “a small number of large online platforms captures the biggest shares of the value”. These platforms act as “gatekeepers between businesses and citizens, benefitting from strong network effects”. This may create hurdles for competitors trying to enter the same market because “some of these large online platforms exercise control over whole platform ecosystems that are essentially impossible to contest by existing or new market operators”.

Against the background, this online event will offer a forum to discuss issues of fairness and competition in digital markets, and the dominance of large gatekeeper platforms from the perspective of smaller players. It will feature a debate with innovative digital SMEs as well as technology experts and academia to discuss solutions for a more open competitive digital ecosystem.


9.00 – 9.10 Welcome by DIGITAL SME
9.10 – 9.30 Opening statements

What will a Digital Markets Act mean for SMEs in Europe?

9.30 – 10.30 Panel discussion

A fair and competitive digital environment: How to regulate platforms without causing harm for smaller players?

10.30 – 10.45 Closing remarks