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Tech Companies Could Face Bans If They Don’t Follow Regulations: Warns EU Industry Chief

The services of technology firms could be barred from the European market if they do not comply with the regulations of the European Union, European Chief Industrial Officer Thierry Breton told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag when the European Commission finalized the guidelines for internet companies. Together with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Breton will announce new draught rules known as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act on December 2.

The rules will set out a list of do's and don'ts for gatekeepers, online businesses with market control, requiring them to share information with competitors, regulators and not to selectively advertise their services and goods.

The new draught rules come as opponents of US Tech Giants, including businesses and business groups, challenge the EU's decisions against Google's Alphabet unit, arguing that their allegedly anti-competitive behaviour has not been curbed. Some want EU enforcers to go beyond only telling businesses to avoid these activities. As a drastic alternative, the draught rules will allow the EU to exclude companies or part of their services from the 27-country bloc.

EU antitrust and digital authorities do not actually have the authority to enforce such bans until the draught rules are implemented. Breton said to Welt am Sonntag, "Strict rules must be enforceable." "To this end, we need a sufficient arsenal of potential measures: to impose fines, to exempt companies or parts of their services from the Single Market, to demand that they be segregated if they wish to retain access to the Single Market or a combination thereof."

He added that these penalties would only apply to businesses which do not comply with EU laws and that only in extreme situations would the toughest steps be used. Last month, Google unveiled a 60-day strategy to get US allies to fight back against the EU digital leader, in a sign of how much tech firms fear the new regulation.