EU mulling powerful new regulator to oversee dominant Internet companies

cep economist Bert Van Roosebeke says an ex-ante regulation would allow the EU Commission to react much faster

The EU Commission is considering a powerful new regulator to oversee dominant Internet companies, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing a leaked document from the office of EU Digital Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. According to WSJ, the document warns that some online websites “are transforming into super-nodes that can be of systemic importance” for the rest of the economy. It lists 32 examples of which all but five are U.S. based. Still, the paper is a long way from becoming policy, WSJ said. “Oettinger is asking the right questions,” says cep economist Bert Van Roosebeke. “The EU legislative framework currently regulates only traditional telecom businesses. This can lead to an unfair advantage for new service providers.” While the ex-ante regulation foreseen by Oettinger carries the risk of over-regulation, “the Commission can react much faster with it than with drawn-out antitrust suits,” Van Roosebeke argued.