PPMI has completed an early evaluation of the P2B Regulation
Businesses, especially SMEs, are increasingly dependent on platforms and search engines to reach new consumers and offer their goods and services. COVID-19 pandemic has further strengthened this trend, forcing most of the commerce to move online. As a result of these trends, platforms and search engines have a large and increasing influence on businesses’ exposure to the consumers. To remedy some of the imbalances in the platform and business user relationships, the European Commission adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (the P2B Regulation).
The Regulation sets out rules on the information that platforms have to provide to their business users, as well as procedural rules on the notice periods and methods of dispute settlement (including mediation). It is considered to be the world’s first horizontal regulation of the digital platform economy, setting the minimum transparency standards for platform-to-business (P2B) commercial relationships. Instead of focusing on specific vertical issues present in the digital platform economy – as previous attempts to regulate various aspects of this phenomenon have done – it targets digital platforms in general. It introduces broad and basic rules to fill gaps regarding key commercial issues in P2B relationships that are based on unilaterally imposed private law contracts (i.e. platform T&Cs). By late 2022, this legislation has become an example and a standard internationally. Several non-European countries have been considering or have already passed similar laws, inspired by or taking into consideration the P2B Regulation.
PPMI team completed the assessment of these effects after two years since the P2B Regulation has been in force. The transparency introduced by the Regulation allowed for a detailed analysis of the platform policies towards their users, related to such aspects as ranking. The findings also showed changes in the previously harmful behaviours of the largest platforms, affecting thousands of European SMEs. However, additional steps by the national authorities are necessary to achieve the full potential of these new rules. The study particularly showed a high effectiveness of thepublic enforcement by the Member States compared to the private enforcement through courts, which is still the only option in several countries.