European Interest

MEPs take on tech giants

Flickr/Mike MacKenzie/CC BY 2.0

A key European Union lawmaking committee prepares to take a tough stance on legislation designed to curb their power to ensure a level playing field between the tech companies like Google, Amazon and Apple and bricks-and-mortar businesses.

New measures being considered come from the European Commission. Brussels in April drafted rules to prevent unfair business practices by app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites and hotel booking websites.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, these include forcing search engines such as Google to provide information on how they rank products and services in internet search results. Europe’s telecoms industry has also seized the opportunity to lobby for tougher rules for internet rivals.

The proposal, known as the platform-to-business regulation (P2B), needs to be approved by EU countries and the European Parliament before it can become law.

According to Reuters, EU MEPs are under pressure to be seen as consumer-friendly ahead of May elections. As such, they have tabled numerous amendments to beef up the draft.

For instance, they have come up with a list of unfair trading practices which they want to ban, and also proposed more powers for national authorities to go after rule breakers.

However, tech lobbying group CCIA, whose members include Amazon, Facebook, Google and eBay, has called on MEPs not to be too hasty to clamp down on the sector.

“Intrusive rules in a one-size-fits-all regulation make little sense for a sector as diverse as online services. That is why both Commission and Member States support a measured approach based on transparency,” CCIA vice president Jakob Kucharczyk said.

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