Inspired by a mechanism already in place at the ECB (European Central Bank), Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, has suggested charging the technology giants in order to provide the European Commission with sufficient resources for controlling compliance.
A fee that falls within the DSA framework
In short, the idea is to charge the Gafams to give the European Commission enough resources to monitor their compliance. This kind of fee would be part of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a text that aims to better regulate the functioning of the technological giants’ platforms.
A debated measure
The measure is supported by Cedric O, Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications, and Danish MEP Christel Schaldemose, member of the Social Democrats (SD). However, an amendment calling for the creation of such a fee was rejected by the other groups in the Parliament during a plenary vote in January.
As things stand, there is no guarantee that this measure will see the light of day. Indeed, the 27 Member States must agree on a final version of the text, which will then be submitted to the vote of the Members of the European Parliament. The latter will be subject to strong pressure from the Gafams, which have no hesitation in spending millions of euros to cut European policies to their liking.
DSA and DMA: the gafams are starting to express concern
Asides from the Digital Services Act (DSA), the Gafams are worried about the consequences of another text, the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The latter aims to prevent abuses of dominant positions by digital giants. Recently, a coalition comprising thirty consumers rights groups and academics called for further enforcement of the DMA to punish the abuses of the digital giants. They indeed want Internet users to be able to sue Gafam directly. It remains to be seen whether Members of the European Parliament and the Member States can resist the American Giants’ lobby and adopt such a measure.
In any case, the DMA and DSA could serve as worldwide models for digital regulation, in the same way that the RGPD did a few years earlier.
Fabrion, Maxence. “Digital Services Act : Les Gafam Invités à Financer Leur Supervision Par La Commission Européenne.” Les Numériques, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.lesnumeriques.com/pro/digital-services-act-les-gafam-invites-a-financer-leur-supervision-par-la-commission-europeenne-n178805.html.
Fabrion, Maxence. “Digital Markets Act : Et Si Les Internautes Pouvaient Poursuivre Directement Les Gafam ?” Les Numériques, 22 Feb. 2022, https://www.lesnumeriques.com/pro/digital-markets-act-et-si-les-internautes-pouvaient-poursuivre-directement-les-gafam-n177165.html.