Insights Council of EU Permanent Representatives Committee endorses provisional agreement on draft Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services


Coreper has endorsed the provisional agreement reached on 13 February 2019 with the European Parliament on a draft regulation that addresses relations between online platforms and businesses that conduct their business through them.

The online platforms covered by the Regulation include online market places, online software application stores and/or online social media, as well as online search engines, irrespective of their place of establishment, provided they serve business users that are established within the EU and that they offer goods or services to consumers who are also located within the EU.

Platforms will be required to use plain and intelligible terms and conditions for the provision of their online intermediation services. They will have to provide a statement of reasons each time they decide to restrict, suspend or terminate the use of their services by a business user. Further, platforms will have to disclose publicly the main parameters determining the ranking of business users in search results, as well as any differential treatment they grant to goods and/or services offered directly by them or through any business falling under their remit. They will also have to disclose the description of the main economic, commercial or legal considerations for restricting the ability of business users to offer different conditions to consumers outside the platform.

The Regulation also obliges all platforms (apart from the smallest) to set up an efficient and swift internal complaint-handling system and to report annually on its effectiveness. It requires platforms to list in their terms and conditions two or more mediators for cases when the internal complaint-handling system is not able to resolve a dispute between their business users. The Regulation also establishes the right of representative organisations, associations or public bodies to initiate judicial proceedings against platforms that do not comply with the Regulation. Finally, the Regulation empowers Member States to establish penalties for infringements of the Regulation.

The agreed text will be submitted for formal adoption by the European Parliament and the Council shortly. The Regulation will apply twelve months from the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. To access the Regulation text, click here.