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The crucial battle over supervision of ecosystems

The chairman of the Competition Commission, Ioannis Lianos, who was also the chairman of the Legislative Drafting Committee, which drafted the provisions of the bill, has publicly defended the proposed provision for ecosystems.

The importance of a provision regarding the supervision of business ecosystems has been emphasized by Competition Commission sources, as it provides it with the opportunity to intervene in business ecosystems and to investigate possible abusive behaviors by companies that have a dominant market position.

Competition Commission sources tell Business Daily, "the purpose of this legislation is to protect consumers and innovation. Similar provisions for ecosystems have already been passed in Germany, Austria, and soon in Italy and Sweden, while a total of 15 EU countries have similar provisions to protect the financial dependence of complementors on ecosystem platforms.”

Sources suggest, however, that the Ministry of Development has deleted the relevant provision from a bill expected to be submitted to Parliament. This, however, remains to be seen with the publication of the bill.

The chairman of the Competition Commission, Ioannis Lianos, who was also the chairman of the Legislative Drafting Committee, which drafted the provisions of the bill, has publicly defended the proposed provision for ecosystems.

"Contrary to what is written in publications in Greece, this provision has nothing to do with the responsibilities of other independent authorities (eg telecommunications, games), but basically enables the Competition Commission to intervene against anti-competitive practices by companies/ platforms that have a position of power in ecosystems of multiple economic activities but not a dominant position in a specific market. I should also mention that this provision has been in the draft submitted to the Legislative Drafting Committee since August 2020 and there has been an extensive discussion with market participants, some of whom have taken a clear position in favor of this provision. Telecommunications, has nothing to do with this provision, since the text submitted for public consultation in August 2021 retained the responsibility of EETT while it also included the provision for ecosystems," the president of the Competition Commission said on Twitter.

Competition Commission sources tell Business Daily that they express regret over the fact that there has been no thorough discussion on the issue in Greece. They note that the Commission has pursued a policy of transparency on its views, hoping that there will be a public debate on this issue, which concerns not only the European Union but all countries of the world. "It is unfortunate that such a thorough public debate has not taken place," sources add.

The importance of ecosystems

But why are ecosystems so important in modern economies, and especially in Greece? As previously explained by Lianos, the provision on ecosystems aims to complement the European institutional framework for the digital economy (Digital Markets Act), enabling the Competition Commission to tackle abusive behavior by businesses that are central factors in important ecosystems for the Greek economy.

An example is platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia, which influence a significant part of the short-term rental or hotel accommodation sector in the country, even if they do not have a dominant position in a particular product or geographic market or meet the DMA criteria in Article 3 for undertakings defined by European law as gatekeepers.

Tourism contributes about 25% of Greek GDP and these platforms can have a significant impact on revenue distribution, so it is necessary for the Competition Commission to be able to control possible abusive practices, which could be to the detriment of hotels or of landlords engaged in short-term rental accommodation. It is no coincidence that SETE is among the business groups supporting the ecosystem provision.

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