Republished excerpt from

Forthcoming in: Marta Cantero Gamito & Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz (eds.) The Role of the EU in Transnational Legal Ordering: Standards, Contracts and Codes, Edward Elgar 2019

Christoph Busch

University of Osnabrück – European Legal Studies Institute


Digital platforms are not only market intermediaries between different groups of platform users. They are also providers of governance mechanisms that are essential for the functioning of digital markets. Moreover, public regulators are increasingly relying on platforms as regulatory intermediaries, drawing on their superior operational capacities, data pools and direct access to platform users. A future EU regulatory policy for the platform economy should consider these multiple roles of digital platforms. Considering the rapid pace of technological innovation and the variety of different business models, the regulatory framework should be flexible enough to adapt to technological and economic developments. The chapter suggests a combination of principles-based legislation and ‘techno-legal standards’ elaborated by European standard-setting organisations involving all relevant stakeholders. A model for co-regulation could be the ‘New Approach’, which has been tried and tested over many years in the field of product safety and which could be transferred to platform regulation.

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