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EU Digital Markets Act – AFCA cooperates closely with European Commission

The European Regulation on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector (Digital Markets Act – DMA) entered into force on 1 November 2022. The Act prohibits companies that provide digital platform services and act as so-called gatekeepers from engaging in certain practices that are detrimental to competition. Gatekeepers are digital platforms that provide an important gateway between business users and consumers, and whose position can grant them the power to act as a private rule maker, thus creating a bottleneck in the digital economy.

To address these issues, the DMA defines a series of obligations for these gatekeepers, including prohibiting them from engaging in certain behaviours.

The DMA applies to the following services: online intermediation services such as app stores, online search engines, social networking services, certain messaging services, video sharing platform services, virtual assistants, web browsers, cloud computing services, operating systems, online marketplaces, and advertising services.

There are three main criteria that bring a company within the scope of the DMA:

  1. Size: when the company achieves a certain annual turnover in the European Economic Area (EEA) and it provides a core platform service in at least three EU Member States
  2. Gateway for business users to reach end consumers: when the company provides a core platform service to more than 45 million monthly active end users established or located in the EU and to more than 10,000 yearly active business users established in the EU
  3. Entrenched and durable position: when the company has met the second criterion for the past three years.


The European Commission is the sole enforcer of the DMA; specifically it is entitled to impose fines and other sanctions. However, the national competition authorities should initiate proceedings in relation to potential breaches and inform the Commission of their findings.

AFCA within the Advisory Committee and the High Level Group

To assist the European Commission and facilitate its work, an advisory committee and a high-level group are to be set up.

The advisory committee is made up of experts from the competent authorities within the Member States, among them the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA), and chaired by the European Commission. The AFCA is represented in the advisory committee from our Legal Services Department.

The high-level group is composed of the following European bodies and networks:

  • Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)
  • European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)
  • European Data Protection Board (EDPB)
  • European Competition Network (ECN)
  • Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC)
  • European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA).

Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch was nominated for a two-year period as representative of the ECN in the high-level group for the Digital Markets Act, alongside her Director General counterparts from the Danish, German, Greek, Polish and Spanish competition authorities.

Working together at the EU Level is especially crucial for digital markets. The AFCA will play an active part in the Advisory Committee and High Level Group,“ adds interim Director General Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch.