News Digital Markets Act DMA

The new amendments to the Competition Law give the Competition Council (CC) an additional function to oversee, in cooperation with the European Commission (EC), the implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA provides for harmonised rules across the European Union (EU), thereby promoting competitiveness in digital markets where platforms with the greatest impact on end-users operate.

On 29 February 2024, amendments to the Competition Law were adopted and will enter into force on 14 March. They provide that the CC is the competent authority in Latvia for the supervision of Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of the European Parliament and of the Council on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector or also called Digital Markets Act that came into effect on 1 November 2022.

By setting clear rules of conduct for the major digital platforms or gateways, the DMA aims to ensure a fair competitive environment for companies operating in the digital environment. The scope of the DMA recognises as gatekeepers, companies that are able to significantly affect competition in digital markets, including through practices that may harm the end-users of the gatekeeping services – commercial users and consumers. Currently, the EC has identified Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft as gatekeeping companies. From 6 March 2024, these gatekeepers must comply with the DMA requirements for the core services they provide: online intermediation services or search engines, social networking and video sharing platform services, as well as operating systems, virtual assistants, online advertising services and others. In addition, the EC has the right to revise and add to the list of gatekeepers that will have to comply with the DMA.

In order to ensure a harmonised approach in the EU internal market, the EC is the sole competent authority for the application of the DMA, while the national competition authorities, including the CC, are obliged to support the EC in actively carrying out any necessary checks in the territory of Latvia – inspections or other information gathering measures. At the same time, the CC will support the EC in its market surveillance activities, monitor the obligations imposed on gatekeepers and examine complaints received about possible non-compliance with the obligations under the DMA and forward them to the EC for further assessment.

The CC may, on its own initiative, initiate and carry out investigations into potential infringements of the DMA in the territory of Latvia and refer the results of the investigations to the EC, which is empowered to impose fines, periodic penalty payments or other remedies on the gatekeeper.

The CC stresses that the DMA will only complement but will not affect the application of competition rules, thus not altering the power of the CC to monitor gatekeepers, e.g., for abuse of dominant position.