Budapest, 6 September 2023 - The European Commission has designated the "gatekeepers" of the digital world - the giant undertakings that, due to their size and power, must comply with the strict requirements of the new EU digital market regulation. The Hungarian Competition Authority will also play a role in monitoring compliance with these new rules, paying particular attention to protecting consumers in the digital space in Hungary.
The European Union has taken another big leap forward in implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into force last November. The European Commission, taking into account the notifications of the platform owners concerned, has identified the so-called "gatekeepers", i.e., the giant undertakings that represent an inevitable gateway between businesses and consumers in the online space. Designated undertakings such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, the Facebook operator Meta, and Google's parent company Alphabet are now given six months to bring their platforms into conformity with the new EU requirements. The Commission's assessment covers a total of 22 core platform services.
The designated digital giants will no longer be able to lock customers/subscribers into their ecosystem, arbitrarily decide on mandatory, factory-installed and unremovable apps for devices, or dictate the source of apps that users must obtain. They must not favour their own platforms and products at the expense of rivals and must guarantee interoperability of the messaging platforms they manage.
Once the deadline has passed, the European Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the rules, can impose severe fines (even up to 20% of an undertaking's annual global turnover in the event of repeated infringements) or require the designated operators to take corrective measures. At the same time, national competition authorities, including the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH), can also initiate procedures to determine whether digital gatekeepers, with a significant impact on the market are meeting their obligations under the EU regulation. The competition authorities report the findings of their investigation to the European Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the obligations. The GVH also participates in the so-called High Level Group, which assists the Commission in its work and whose main task is to provide advice and expertise on the implementation and enforcement of the new regulation.
The designation of gatekeepers will bring clear sector-specific regulation for the key actors in the online space, improving the conditions for their business partners and consumers. The new EU market framework strengthens the competition and consumer protection rules, the implementation of which in the digital space has been a priority of the GVH for years. The Hungarian Competition Authority has already taken action against most of the newly appointed gatekeepers in recent years: Apple has paid significant fines in Hungary and Google has undertaken corrective competition commitments in relation to its digital platforms. The former, Google, is currently being subject to proceedings for alleged abuse of a dominant position. The GVH is also investigating certain market practices ofTikTok, operated by ByteDance, and most recently initiated the proceeding against in July this year.
In addition to the market practices of the gatekeepers, the global giants, the Hungarian Competition Authority will also pay attention to the market practices of smaller, national or regional digital platforms used by Hungarian consumers, such as eMag and Alza.
More details about the EU's digital market regulation and the Commission's decision to designate gatekeepers are available on the website of the European Commission, which is responsible for enforcement. The Commission has also published a press release in Hungarian regarding the designation, available at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/hu/ip_23_432
GVH Public Service Communications and International Section
Bálint Horváth, Head of Communication +36 20 238 6939
Katalin Gondolovics, Spokesperson +36 30 603 1170