Fairness and transparency for business users of online platforms must be guaranteed, say S&Ds

The Socialists and Democrats backed today in the internal market and consumer protection committee a proposal to improve fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services. The proposal foresees a set of transparency measures to be taken by providers of online services such as Amazon, eBay, Google and Skyscanner in order to ensure transparency in the ranking, treatment and conditions for services and goods provided by business users to consumers.

S&D Group negotiator on platform-to-business relationships, Christel Schaldemose MEP, said:

“Today’s agreement is a social democratic victory. We have taken an important step towards achieving a fairer and more transparent digital internal market. Online platforms are playing an increasingly important role in European consumers’ lives. However, with more than a million enterprises trading through online platforms as well as millions of consumers, there is high risk of engaging in unfair trading practices. According to a study by the European Commission, 46% of users have reported problems in their dealings with online platforms. It is therefore crucial that we put in place a clear regulatory framework to ensure a fair, transparent and predictable treatment of business users by online platforms.

We have managed to introduce key improvements to the Commission’s proposal that prohibit unfair practices, remove loopholes and safeguard fairness in the relationships between business users and online platforms. Unfair platform-to-business trading practices have no place in Europe.”

S&D Group spokesperson for the internal market and consumer protection, Nicola Danti MEP, added:

“Platform-to-business relationships can have far-reaching implications. When unfair, they also directly affect final consumer choices and prices; for example when booking a hotel room or looking for a restaurant.

“This is why ensuring that the online environment is a fair and transparent place for all is vital to the development of the Digital Single Market.

“This proposal should be considered as only the first step towards a more effective set of rules to better protect consumers in the digital sphere, create fair competition and enhance the competitiveness of European businesses and SMEs.

“We look forward to starting negotiations already this year and delivering on the proposal before the 2019 EU elections.”