Member States should review their regulatory frameworks for digital platforms, committee says

The Social Affairs Committee today expressed its concern at the digital platforms phenomenon which has grown on the margins of regulations applicable to the mainstream economy, and whose actors are accused of breaching the level-playing field and infringing consumer rights, workers' social rights and taxation at national and European level. “The ‘platformisation” of work contributes to the spread of increasingly precarious forms of non-standard work, and the employment status of platform workers is not clear across Europe”, the parliamentarians said.

This platform economy explains the report by Luís Leite Ramos (Portugal, EPP/CD) adopted by the committee, enables a marketplace where goods, services and information are exchanged between individuals (peer-to-peer) and business actors (professionals and firms), with cost sharing, or even for free.

Like the OECD, the committee believes that the regulatory policies debate should focus on sector-specific issues (such as in the case of transport and accommodation platforms) and on issues relating to labour rights and social protection, taxation, consumer protection (including data protection) and competition.

In order to meet the challenges of the platform economy, the committee recommended that member States review national legislation applicable to digital platforms and identify areas that require additional regulation to preserve fair competition and platform workers’ social protection. The committee also stressed the need to address the cross-border issues arising from multinational platforms, particularly as regards taxation.

Finally, the committee supported the legislative initiatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council to ensure transparent working conditions in the EU and has invited the Council of Europe member States to consider them as a guidance.