EuroCommerce Lauds New EU Rules For Online Platforms
Representative body EuroCommerce has lauded the 'sensible' draft regulation for transparent business interactions between online platforms and their business users drawn up by the European Commission on Thursday, as part of an initiative to tackle disinformation online.
The body said that the proposal 'strikes a good balance'. It deals with transparency issues, such as the need for clarity in terms and conditions, in the practice of suspension and termination of business users, as well as ranking and access to data, while still maintaining freedom of contract in B2B relations.
Director-general Christian Verschueren commented, "Online platforms are drivers of growth and innovation, enabling businesses and consumers to make the most of the opportunities provided by the digital economy.
"They are very often the easiest first step for small businesses who want to go online and benefit from exposure to a wider customer base without having to make a large investment in digital infrastructure.
"Any regulation on platforms therefore needs to be carefully balanced to encourage small merchants to go online with confidence of fair treatment, while avoiding unnecessary overregulation."
'Transparent and predictable business environment'
The far-ranging draft regulation, which decrees the same regulations for platforms across Europe, covers many different kinds of platforms, including search engines and e-commerce sites.
In a release, the commission commented that the rules would create a 'fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders when using online platforms.
'Businesses such as hotels, traders selling online, app developers, and other similar companies that rely on search engines for attracting internet traffic to their websites are amongst those who will benefit from the new rules.'
On a wider front, the regulations are meant to protect against disinformation and issue new rules for platforms to ensure 'the protection of European values and security', according to the commission.
By July, platforms should have a common code of conduct, which will ensure transparency about sponsored content, especially political advertising.
In the statement, EuroCommerce added that it would like to see provisions for collective action following the parameters of the recent New Deal for Consumers. The body said that the deal's new proposal on collective redress, which allows legal action if there is no consumer mandate, needed to include proper safeguards against 'abusive litigation' such as is common in the US.
'The [online platform] proposal rightly puts emphasis on internal dispute resolution and mediation rather than litigation. Experience from the Supply Chain Initiative in establishing a similar mechanism has shown that this works, and it is encouraging that the same approach has been taken in relation to platforms,' the body commented.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.