European elections 2019: Open letter to the candidates by Open Internet Project

Call for an urgent modification of interim measures 

Whilst in the last couple of years the European Commission has issued fines of unprecedented level for digital companies who abuse their dominant position, we regret that it still has no actionable solution to make such abuses stop before it's too late. Therefore, we call upon future European decision-makers to tackle big tech companies’ abuses of dominant position, under which whole branches of the European digital economy have withered. 

The time-issue is of great importance as it is a priority to reduce the length of the procedural time. The length is the ally of the monopolies and the enemy of European competition and innovative companies, which suffer greatly from their abuses. All contradictory procedures, consisting of a multitude of steps, are abusively exploited by monopolies to transform them into never-ending stories during which competition is devasted. 

Those monopolies have the power of life and death over the whole European digital economy, and jeopardies innovation, dynamism and employment in Europe. Europe has to be properly armed to defend its companies in an effective manner against unfair practices.

The use of interim measures, which allow to interrupt abuses within a few months, is in fact foreseen in the European legislation, but the current basis for the application of the law is impractical.

In effect, the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty, Article 8 (1), states that “In cases of urgency due to the risk of serious and irreparable damage to competition, the Commission, acting on its own initiative may by decision, on the basis of a prima facie finding of infringement, order interim measures.”

The standard of “irreparable damage to competition” is too high with relation to concrete and juridical acceptable demonstration, that interim measures have in fact never been used at EU-level since 2003, whereas they are regularly used by national competition authorities throughout Europe.  

Against that background, it is a top priority to make interim measures operable at EU-level and align EU interim measures’ conditions for application on those of EU member-states, which have recourse to interim measures when there is urgency and infringement of competition




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