Over the last few years, the digital retail sector has seen a steep increase in the activity of e-commerce marketplaces and platforms, with a different economic impact across EU Member States. The current digital economy is characterized by a growing interdependence between large online platforms on the one hand, and SMEs using these platforms on the other hand. Although Platforms are often perceived as competitors to smaller independent retailers, they are also a vehicle for SMEs to reach a bigger market. Platforms can lower market entry barriers for SMEs, helping them to survive in an economic landscape with increasingly bigger players.
Regarding legislation, Ecommerce Europe overall argues that the EU should continue its work in developing a fully harmonized framework for minimum transparency and redress rights, which protects companies that depend on online platforms for reaching consumers, while safeguarding platforms’ innovation potential. In general, Ecommerce Europe believes it is it crucial to maintain an open dialogue between the different players in the platform economy. In order to achieve this, Ecommerce Europe decided to launch a new Working Committee focusing specifically on Platforms.
In contrast to existing Working Committees, the Platforms Working Committee will not focus primarily on legislative issues, but rather facilitate the dialogue between platforms and independent retailers and discuss the practical implications of legislation in this field. The meetings will be set up to create a forum for Ecommerce Europe members where representatives of platforms and marketplaces and national associations gather to exchange views on the challenges and opportunities they come across. By creating this forum, Ecommerce Europe aims to discuss complex topics openly and stimulate all members to learn from each other. This will allow Ecommerce Europe to be able to present a stronger voice of the digital retail sector, including both platforms and SMEs, to European policymakers. The new Working Committee will function as an advisory body to the existing e-Regulations Committee and will feed into the work of the European Institutions in this area.
The Committee will start its work in April during the Members Days in Copenhagen, where Ecommerce Europe is kindly hosted by the Danish e-commerce association, FDIH.