France, Netherlands join forces to support EU action against tech giants

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US tech giants face threat of EU attempt to dismantle them after France and the Netherlands jointly appeal to bloc’s competition authorities to take action preventive measures as they prepare radical legislation to reduce the market power of companies.

Cedric O, French Minister of Digital, and Mona Keijzer, Dutch Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, signed a position paper calling on Brussels regulators to take swift action against emerging tech giants and “guardian” platforms »Existing – including options to dismantle them.

Proponents of limiting the power of big tech argue that the structural separation of the large platforms would diminish their dominance and help smaller rivals thrive.

The document urges regulators to explore measures, including forcing Facebook and Apple to allow their users to transfer their private data to a competing platform or prohibiting companies such as Google from promoting their own services at the expense of more. small competitors.

Paris and The Hague have traditionally had divergent views on how to regulate the tech industry, with the French government leading the campaign for strict laws against everything from illegal content to strict data protection measures.

The Netherlands has historically taken a more liberal approach, but has joined in the call for strict enforcement of competition rules to prevent tech giants from prioritizing their own services to oust their rivals and ‘consolidate »Their market dominance.

Mona Keijzer, Dutch State Secretary for Digital Affairs, said: “The dissolution of large companies may be a possibility” © Piroschka van de Wouw / Reuters

Ms Keijzer said regulators should aim for rules that prevent platforms from getting “too big” in the first place. But added: “The breakdown of large companies may be a possibility.”

” To break up [companies] is on the table. But it is the ultimate remedy, “said MO” France and the Netherlands have different cultures and have different positions. But we have a common interest, from a sovereignty point of view, from a competitive point of view, in regulating technological players.

The push for capitals comes as Brussels draws up historic new rules on the regulation of large online platforms, especially large US companies.

EU regulators are setting criteria that would mean up to 20 companies, including Facebook and Google, would be hit with new, much stricter rules.

High-level figures in the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, have also expressed the need to curb Big Tech. French EU commissioner Thierry Breton has warned that Brussels would consider dismantling large platforms or even forcing them to sell units under extreme circumstances.

Brussels regulators are increasingly ambitious in the fight against Big Tech. The EU is working on an overhaul of internet rules under the Digital Services Act, which will seek to legislate on illegal content, transparency of advertisements and disinformation.

In addition, Brussels is also developing a bill for the Digital Markets Act, which will include rules against anti-competitive behavior, thus removing the need for lengthy antitrust investigations which sometimes take too long and often lead to very little.

France and the Netherlands have clashed over important EU policy issues in recent months, including the extent to which to fund the Union’s next long-term budget and the funding of a Covid- 19 of 750 billion euros. However, they found agreement in other areas, including pushing for strict environmental standards in EU trade agreements and joint demands to protect the Union’s single market from subsidized foreign companies.

Ms Keijzer said countries’ alignment with Big Tech was a sign they were ready to meet “halfway” in their demands for digital services law. Mr O said the common position on technology regulation was a clear indication of the two countries’ support for the EU’s efforts to limit the power of big tech.

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