EU lawmakers pass strict new rules affecting Big US Tech

Major EU legislation to impose unprecedented restrictions on how US tech giants do business passed a first and significant hurdle on Tuesday.

A key committee of the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved their version of the Digital Markets Act, legislation that will slap far-reaching rules on Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

Once passed, the landmark law should give the EU unprecedented powers to act quickly against these tech “gatekeepers” and impose a strict list of Do’s and Don’ts on their most dominant platforms.

“The current competition rules are not enough,” said German MEP Andreas Schwab, who is spearheading the DMA drafting in parliament.

The law will mean “game over for unfair practices … The legislator makes the rules, not private companies”, he added in a statement.

The vote is now set to go to the full European Parliament in December, with its companion law, the Digital Services Act, expected to be passed in January.

These final laws will be negotiated with EU member states, with ministers expected to greenlight their own versions at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday. The hope is to have them in force on January 1, 2023.

The legislative work is heating up a year after the European Commission first made its proposals and sets the scene for painstaking negotiations between the member states and MEPs in early 2022.

The big tech companies and other interests are lobbying furiously to influence the outcome, and member states will weigh in until the end with their own national priorities.

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