By: Philipp Bongartz (D’Kart)
With the votes of the Grand Coalition of CDU, CSU and SPD as well as the Greens, an impressive move was done by parliament against the business practices of online platforms. Hansjörg Durz of the party CSU spoke of the “birth of the social digital market economy” (those of you familiar with the German faith into social market economy know that his is a historic moment, then). It had already been announced that the improved government draft would contain some innovations – this has now proved to be an understatement. With a crash prophecy, a second chance and a belated Christmas present, the future competition law arrives in the new year.
The amendment to the Cartel Act (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen (GWB) in German), which became necessary due to the implementation of the ECNplus Directive, was considerably delayed. After it was first taken as a pawn by the Ministry of Justice, the long-awaited appearance in the Bundestag – announced for 17 December 2020 – was cancelled at short notice and postponed to today. Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) was severely criticised by Katharina Dröge of the Green party for the lengthy procedure during today’s debate in the Bundestag. To be fair, a lot of things happened in between and that changed the competition landscape since the first government draft of October 2020: Facebook filed a second emergency appeal against the Federal Cartel Office’s order, the Office initiated a second abuse procedure against Facebook and the European Commission presented its draft Digital Markets Act. But all in good time…