#Romania2019.eu/EU introducing new rules offering businesses more transparent, fair, predictable online platform environment

The EU is introducing new rules offering businesses a more transparent, fair and predictable online platform environment, as well as an efficient system for seeking redress.

Romania's Ministry of Commerce says in a press statement released on Thursday that representatives of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council on Thursday reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a draft regulation that addresses relations between online platforms and businesses that conduct their business through them. The agreement will now be submitted for confirmation by member states in the EU Council.

"The Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU wants to make a substantial contribution to creating a European digital economy that is data-based, innovative, competitive and connected. Therefore, the Romanian presidency makes every effort to conclude the key files consolidating the single digital market, such as the regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services," reads the statement.

Coordination of this file was made by Romania's Ministry of Economy with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Romanian Competition Council.

"The new rules will create the predictability which is necessary for EU businesses if they want to reap the full benefits of the platform economy. This is a very important step towards the completion of the EU digital single market. Transparency is key!," says Romanian Economy Ministry Niculae Badalau.

The main goal of the regulation is to establish a legal framework that guarantees transparent terms and conditions for business users of online platforms, as well as effective possibilities for redress when these terms and conditions are not respected by the online platforms.

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.

The regulation shall apply twelve months from the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

The provisional agreement will now be submitted to the relevant bodies of the European Council and the European Parliament for endorsement. Following such endorsement, it will be submitted for formal adoption by the two institutions.

Online platforms are key enablers of digital trade. At present, more than a million EU businesses trade through online platforms in order to reach their customers, and it is estimated that around 60% of private consumption and 30% of public consumption of goods and services related to the total digital economy are transacted via online intermediaries.

While offering great potential in terms of efficient access to (cross-border) markets, European businesses cannot fully exploit the potential of the online platform economy due to a number of potentially harmful trading practices and a lack of effective redress mechanisms in the Union. At the same time, online service providers face difficulties operating across the single market due to existing fragmentation. AGERPRES (RO - autor: Oana Tilica, editor: Nicoleta Gherasi; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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