EXCLUSIVE Big online businesses must pay 0.1% monitoring fee under new EU rules

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BRUSSELS, April 5 (Reuters) – Major online platforms must pay an annual fee of up to 0.1% of their annual net income to cover the costs of monitoring compliance with new European Union rules requiring them to do more to control their content, according to an EU document.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) rules are expected to be agreed between EU countries and lawmakers later this month. Collecting such a fee would be a first for the European Commission, which is the bloc’s executive body.

The move comes as the Commission seeks new sources of revenue to boost economic growth in the region in the wake of the pandemic and also foster a greener and more digital economy.

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“The aggregate amount of the annual surveillance fee will be based on the estimated costs incurred by the Commission in carrying out its surveillance tasks under this Regulation,” the document, which has been seen by Reuters, reads.

“The royalty shall not exceed 0.1% of the supplier’s aggregate annual net income of very large online platforms (or very large search engines) in the previous financial year.”

The fee should be proportional to the size of the service, as reflected by the number of its recipients in the EU, he added. The Commission defines very large online platforms subject to the DSA as those with 45 million monthly active users or more.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager told lawmakers and member states last month that the charges could bring in between 20 million euros ($22 million) and 30 million euros a year, said to Reuters a person with direct knowledge of the case.

Nonprofit providers of very large online platforms and very large online search engines will be exempt from fees, the document says, a move that will benefit companies such as Wikipedia and research organizations.

Vestager’s proposal is likely to get the green light from member states and EU lawmakers, who are due to meet on April 22 for the fourth round of negotiations, in what many hope will result in a deal.

“We think it’s possible, we see progress,” MEP Christel Schaldemose, who leads the AVD in the European Parliament, told Reuters.

The Commission did not respond to a request for comment.

“We want the DSA implementation to be successful and support proportionate monitoring fees, backed by a detailed methodology and commensurate with industry standards,” Alphabet (GOOGL.O) told Google.

($1 = 0.9156 euros)

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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