EU’s Vestager aims for March deal on tech rules

FILE PHOTO: European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager holds a news conference in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman/

March 16, 2022

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission aims to clinch a fast-tracked deal with EU lawmakers and countries by the end of March on new rules to rein in the powers of Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, Europe’s antitrust chief said on Wednesday.

Margrethe Vestager, who had proposed the Digital Markets Act more than a year ago with a list of dos and don’ts for U.S. tech giants, said there has been good progress in negotiations.

“We are now aiming to reach political agreement by the fourth trilogue by the end of March. If we manage that, that will be legislation with almost the speed of lightning,” she told a European Parliament hearing.

Talks are due to resume on March 24.

Issues that need to be ironed out include the list of obligations for online gatekeepers – companies that control data and access to their platforms – and the level of turnover that defines which companies will be covered by the DMA, people close to the matter said.

Another issue is whether the EU executive should be solely responsible for the proposed law’s enforcement at the expense of national watchdogs.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman)