In order to contribute to the ongoing policy discussion on the challenges following the rise of digital technologies, the Nordic competition authorities have published a memorandum entitled “Digital platforms and the potential changes to competition law at the European level”. The aim of the memorandum is to contribute to the discussion of the benefits and concerns related to digital platforms and, more specifically, the development of the EU/EEA competition rules.
The intention of the Nordic competition authorities is to inspire the European Commission, other national competition authorities and others with an interest in the subject. For example, the European Commission is currently working on the competition framework rules governing so-called digital gatekeepers, such as global players Facebook, Google and Amazon.
The Nordic competition authorities have responded to these challenges by committing to a robust enforcement of competition rules that keeps pace with technological developments.
The memorandum explores several challenges created by digital platforms, namely
i) “tipping” scenarios, where a market may “tip” in favour of a single platform and consequently leaving no room for competing platforms.
ii) “gatekeeper” scenarios, where large platforms act like regulators and unilaterally set the rules accessing the ecosystem they create.
iii) Leveraging of market power from larger digital platforms into new or adjacent markets.
iv) Keeping up the high speed at which the digital markets evolve, making regulation of the market more challenging.
As a response to the challenges, the Nordic competition authorities provide a set of recommendations and policy ideas for competition policy to adapt to the developments and challenges in this fast-paced competitive environment.
The recommendations focus on potential updates to the current EU/EEA competition law framework in the form of additional guidance to ensure efficient and coherent enforcement in areas such as application of competition rules to digital ecosystems and cooperation on sharing of data.
Furthermore, the national competition laws of Norway, Sweden and Iceland could provide inspiration for the European Commission for adopting tools allowing for the assessment of mergers to address the concern of killer acquisitions falling below merger control thresholds.
The Nordic competition authorities believe that cooperation, in the continued policy discussions around digital platforms, will prevent fragmentation of the single market and enhance the impact and effectiveness of the harmonised EU/EEA competition rules.