The EU Could Start Enforcing Rules To Regulate Big Tech In Spring 2023

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The European Union aims to begin enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in spring 2023, Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager announced last week at the International Competition Network (ICN) conference.

Vestager previously stated that the antitrust legislation, which introduces a new set of rules to curb the power of Big Tech, could be implemented as early as October of this year. 

“The DMA will enter into force next spring, and we are getting ready for enforcement as soon as the first notifications come in,” Vestager said during her speech at the ICN. Vestager suggests that the Commission will be prepared to act against any violations made by “gatekeepers” – a classification that includes Meta, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon – as soon as the laws come into force.

The DMA, which still needs final approval from the Council and Parliament, defines gatekeepers as companies with a market capitalization of over €75 billion ($82 billion) and owning a social platform or app with at least 45 million monthly users. These entities can face fines of “up to 10% of its total worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year” if found in violation of the DMA’s rules, a fee that could increase to 20% in the case of a repeat offense.

In accordance with the DMA, gatekeepers will have three months to declare their status to the Commission, followed by an up to two-month wait period to receive confirmation from the EU. This waiting period, coupled with the delayed DMA enforcement, could mean that we won’t start seeing any real battles between the EU and Big Tech until 2023.

“This next chapter is exciting. It means a lot of concrete preparations,” Vestager explained. “It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission. It’s about hiring staff. It’s about preparing the IT systems. It’s about drafting further legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are busy with all these preparations, and we aim to come forward with the new structures very soon.”

Pushing back the DMA’s enforcement could give the Commission more time to prepare, but the delay could also catalyze criticism if the Commission fails to address any major violations between now and the time the DMA becomes law.