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This article investigates lobbying by US digital platforms, the so-called Big Tech, with regard to the Digital Markets Act (currently under consideration by the European Commission in Brussels) and analyses whether lobbying on the Digital Markets Act fits with academic analysis of the general properties of corporate lobbying in the EU. The article suggests that the case illustrates the importance of domestic European political economies in driving approaches in the Council and Parliament and thus collective legislative outcomes. Contrary to some commentary, the article argues that despite significant expenditure on lobbying in Brussels, Big Tech has been unsuccessful in its efforts and that a significant impediment has been because Big Tech companies only have status as major employers and investors in a handful of small EU Member States. The article suggests that one measure that could be adopted to indicate whether lobbying has been successful would be the content of legislation defining triggers for regulatory intervention. The EU now looks certain to adopt an approach that makes it easier for regulators to impose regulatory constraints on Big Tech compared to traditional competition law. It is also likely that the legislative process is likely to conclude with a strengthening of the possible sanctions contained in the draft proposal, rather than any watering down.

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  • Andrew Tarrant

    Andrew Tarrant

    Andrew Tarrant is Director of EU Affairs and Public Policy at Whitehouse Communications Ltd. and is based in their Brussels office. He does not act for anyone in relation to the Digital Markets Act.

    Articles by Andrew Tarrant