On 17 March 2021, EIF hosted an exchange of views with Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager on Competition Policy in the Digital Era and the future initiatives.
EVP Vestager shared her views of the interplay between the upcoming Digital Markets Act and competition enforcement going forward. The keynote speech was hosted and moderated by MEP and EIF Chair Pilar del Castillo.
Pilar del Castillo MEP welcomed EVP Margrethe Vestager, praising her for holding such a critical portfolio for Europe's global competitiveness with great experience and willingness to participate and explain the European Commission's views and proposals. The MEP stressed the importance of the files presented in the last months by the European Commission: the Data Governance Regulation, the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, including the Communication "Europe's Digital Decade" which, said MEP del Castillo, can be considered as a new digital agenda for the next 10 years.
"Today we have the best possible speaker to touch upon these themes" reiterated MEP del Castillo, very honoured to welcome the EVP Vestager to the EIF.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager shared with the audience of MEPs and EIF Members her views on how the internet has changed and influenced the world we live in. Moreover, during the last year, the pandemic obliged everyone to stay physically apart: digital technology filled this gap and gave people the possibility to stay in touch, study, work, shop. Because of this complex and unprecedented reality, in which digital technologies are changing and affecting more and more our lives, it is increasingly clear that more rules are needed to keep the economic and societal power of the giants of the Internet in check, and "to keep our digital world open and fair." The proposals for a Digital Services Act and a Digital Markets Act, put forward in December by the European Commission, aim to fill that gap.
According to EVP Vestager, the Digital Services Act will make platforms throughout Europe more responsible for their decisions that affect safety and democracy, while the Digital Markets Act is designed to make sure that digital markets are open and fair for consumers and for businesses of all sizes. Nevertheless, stressed the EVP, "it’s important to remember that the DMA is not a competition law instrument: the DMA is designed to complement the competition rules and principles.”
Competition rules in many regulated sectors are already being enforced, but for digital markets this is different, it is new. This is why the goal is to make competition rules and the Digital Markets Act work together in harmony in order to grant a better future to our digital markets and be sure they work better for everyone. The Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, said Vestager, are just a part of the puzzle to deliver a positive digital future for Europeans.
The EVP also mentioned the 2020s Europe’s Digital Decade, a vision that will include a clear statement of the principles of a fair digital society, with opportunities for everyone. Moreover, it will include a Digital Compass to build a greener, more digital and more resilient economy. Having taken part in several meetings with some European Parliament Committees, EVP Vestager praised the MEPs for being so committed to the process of getting these rules in place very quickly in order to bring the power back under democratic control.
Commissioner Vestager concluded her keynote speech on a positive note, stressing that "now it is the moment, as Bowie might have put it, when we can be heroes." Margrethe Vestager is confident that new rules will be in place very soon to make sure that our democracies make the decisions that determine our future.
You can find the full speech of the Executive Vice-President here.