The EU is too sweet for Big Tech, say France, Germany and the Netherlands

Germany, France and the Netherlands have complained that the EU is not tough enough for Big Tech and have asked regulators to make it harder for Google and Facebook to pursue killer purchases.

An article signed by Bruno Le Maire, French finance minister, Peter Altmaier, Germany’s economic affairs minister, and Mona Keijzer, the Dutch economic affairs minister, says the EU’s flagship proposals for future technological regulation, the Digital Markets Act, lacked “ambition”.

The newspaper, which has not yet been published but has been seen by the Financial Times, has called on the EU to strengthen and “accelerate” the scrutiny of mergers, particularly when it comes to “platform company strategies”. which consist of the systematic acquisition of nascent firms to stimulate competition ”.

The countries have also called on the European Commission to give them more power to legislate and enforce technology policy at the country level, just days after Germany opened antitrust cases against both Amazon and Google.

They called for “rapid and proactive cooperation” between EU countries and Brussels and an extension of the legal scope for Member States to act locally.

As the Digital Markets Act passes through the European parliament, countries want to see “clear and legally certain” thresholds for mergers and acquisitions, which would force scrutiny of the acquisition by Big Tech companies where their goals have few revenues but a potentially valuable technology.

Technical companies have a record of acquiring potential competitors in an early stage, such as the acquisition of Facebook from both WhatsApp and Instagram when they were relatively small.

“Effectiveness lies in the combination of measures for all goalkeepers and a flexible case-by-case approach by taking targeted actions against the biggest players. This includes our efforts to prevent them from buying innovative start-ups on a regular basis. .That is why we want all mergers and acquisitions by custodians to be assessed by the regulator, ”Keijzer said.

A push by member states to have more words on how to curb Big Tech’s power as Brussels seeks to enact rules across the EU and take a leading role has worried EU officials.

Earlier this year, Margrethe Vestager, the head of EU competition, warned in an interview with the FT that it was in the interests of large platforms to align with Brussels with a single piece of legislation or to deal with it. I do not patchwork of national rules.

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