Brussels, 30 May 2022
Last week a delegation from the Internal Market Committee visited leading tech companies including Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, Paypal and Uber in the Silicon Valley.
From 23 to 27 May, an Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee delegation travelled to the Silicon Valley to meet with tech companies, local authorities and academia. MEPs had the opportunity to look into the latest digital market advances in the United States, particularly in relation to the development and use of e-commerce, artificial intelligence, consumer protection, online platforms and the gig economy.
During the trip, the delegation met with representatives from Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, Paypal, Uber, Salesforce, the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cloudfare, AT&T, Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, game developers, HP Inc and Argo AI.
Upon returning from the five-day mission to Silicon Valley, Andreas Schwab, the Chair of the delegation summarised the key observations:
“The mission was timely because the European Union is ushering in a new era of digital platform regulation with the adoption of the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act. As Europe is pioneering new digital laws that will have an impact beyond the EU, US companies and think-tanks took great interest in the Parliament’s role in the process.
We were able to discuss with some of the largest companies that will be most affected by the DMA-DSA package such as Meta, Google and Apple. Their feedback was mostly positive, although we will have to see how compliant or litigious they will be once the DMA and DSA enter into force.
We also met indirect beneficiaries of the legislation such as SMEs, who will be able to compete on equal terms in some of the markets that the DMA will open up for them by breaking the power of digital gatekeepers over their ecosystems. Overall, we noted their strong support for an EU-wide level playing field and clear rules.
Finally, the mission highlighted that the EU’s comprehensive re-structuring of the digital economy was sorely needed. The EU will make the digital economy fairer for companies and consumers. The EU’s efforts to translate the laws of physical economy into the digital sphere will set an example and create a demand in other jurisdictions worldwide.
Many US stakeholders welcome the EU’s efforts and were called on to follow suit. Moreover, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the digital propaganda war shows that the United States and the EU are like-minded democratic partners that share common interests in the digital sphere. Now, both the US Senate and the European Parliament should work together to align the EU and the US as much possible to avoid a fragmentation of the internet as we know it”.
The visit was a key opportunity to get a closer insight into US legislative work on e-commerce and platforms and to exchange views on the EU’s digital policy agenda, especially the recently agreed EU rules on online platforms – the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA). It feeds into the committee’s ongoing work on the digital single market and consumer protection.
Composition of the delegation
Andreas SCHWAB (EPP, DE) led the delegation on behalf of the Internal Market Committee. Other MEPs who took part in the delegation were Dita CHARANZOVÁ (Renew, CZ), Christel SCHALDEMOSE (S&D, DK), Alex AGIUS SALIBA (S&D, MT), Andrea CAROPPO (EPP, IT), Alexandra GEESE (Greens/EFA, DE), Virginie JORON (ID, FR), and Marion WALSMANN (EPP, DE).