EU ANTITRUST: HOT TOPICS & NEXT STEPS 2022 Prague, Czechia How to ensure consumers get a fair share of the benefits of the digital economy? Agustín Reyna Director of Legal and Economic Affairs BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation Rue d’Arlon 80, 1040, Brussels Belgium e-mail: Abstract This speech was delivered at the occasion of the conference “EU Antitrust: Hot Topics and Next Steps” organized by the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague on 24 January. This contribution provides the European consumers’ perspective on the role of EU competition law and regulation in digital markets arguing that the EU normative goals embedded in the EU Treaties can provide a prism to assess emerging practices in digital markets that harm consumers beyond price outputs by restricting choice and limiting innovation. It also argues that regulation should complement competition law enforcement by targeting practices by digital companies in the position of gatekeepers as proposed in the upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA). Keywords: Consumers, Digitalisation, Competition Law, Consumer Protection, Digital Markets Act JEL Classification: K10, K2, K21, K30, K40 1. Why are digital markets different? Over the last decade, digitisation has had a profound impact on society as a whole and on the economy. While it is seen as a central driver for future prosperity and growth, it has also stimulated a shift in market dynamics and has raised societal concerns. Digital markets present several characteristics that differentiate them from more traditional sectors and industries. First, one prominent characteristic of digital markets is the absence of monetary price for many of the products or services offered (Newman, 2015). The digital platforms that are active in the online or digital sectors are often multi-sided platforms that strive to attract customers on both sides, which leads them to offer zero-price services to consumers. This multi-sidedness combined with the absence of a monetary price – on the consumer side of the platform – generates particularly strong network effects, both direct and indirect. This situation may


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