EU Digital Markets Act Published in the EU’s Official Journal

October 18, 2022

On October 12, 2022, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.  This is the last step in the almost two-year long journey since the publication of the Commission’s initial proposal in December 2020.

The text is the same that was approved by the European Parliament and EU Member States in July 2022 (see our previous post here), following the political agreement reached on March 25, 2022 (see also our previous post here).

The DMA will enter into force on November 1, 2022, 20 days after its publication.  This date marks the automatic and uniform application of the text in all EU Member States.  Despite the early entry into force, most of the DMA will only become applicable 6 months from entry into force, i.e., on May 2, 2023.  As of then, prospective gatekeepers will have a two-month timeframe to notify their expected Core Platform Services (CPSs) to the Commission, which in turn will have 45 working days to issue a designation decision.  Once designated, gatekeepers will have six months to comply with the DMA’s behavioral obligations, and will be required to demonstrate compliance by Q1 2024 (see a timeline and a summary of DMA’s behavioral obligations, below).

In the coming months, the Commission will adopt guidance and implementing provisions laying down rules concerning operational and procedural aspects of the CPS notification (see the Commission’s open consultation website).  These rules may also provide more clarity on assessing the DMA’s quantitative thresholds.  The draft implementing act is expected to be published in November, and the final text is scheduled for adoption during Q1 2023.

Shortly before publication, Executive Vice-President Vestager had said that “[e]xpectations are high that Europe delivers the needed changes in how digital platforms operate”.  She added that “10 years ago, our data protection laws set the standard internationally. Now, our digital regulations will become a ‘gold standard’ across the world”.

As we enter the enforcement phase, however, the Commission’s guidance becomes more and more pressing for companies expected to be covered by the legislation.  Importantly, significant practical aspects relating to DMA enforcement remain unclear to this date.  These include, as recently suggested by a top Commission official, how enforcement of the DMA will interact with enforcement of national competition laws with similar objectives.

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