In Germany, the following new regulation has been in force since the beginning of this year:
Access to technical infrastructure services for the provision of payment services or e-money
(1) An undertaking contributing through technical infrastructure services to the provision of payment services or the conduct of e-money business within the national territory (system undertaking) shall, upon request by a payment service provider within the meaning of Article 1 (1), first sentence, points 1 to 3 or an e-money issuer within the meaning of Article 1 (2), first sentence, points 1 or 2, be obliged to make these technical infrastructure services available without undue delay and subject to appropriate access conditions in return for appropriate remuneration. Provision within the meaning of the first sentence must be such that the requesting undertaking can freely provide or operate its payment services or e-money business.
(2) Paragraph 1 shall not apply if, at the time of the request, the system undertaking is not an undertaking whose technical infrastructure services are used by more than 10 payment service providers within the meaning of Article 1(1), first sentence, points 1 to 3, or electronic money issuers within the meaning of Article 1(2), first sentence, points 1 or 2, or which has more than 2 million registered users.
(3) Exceptionally, the system undertaking shall not be obliged to comply with paragraph 1 where there are objectively justified reasons for refusal to make available. These are particularly present if the system undertaking can prove that the security and integrity of the technical infrastructure services are specifically endangered by the provision of these measures. The refusal must be justified in a comprehensible manner.
(4) In the event that a system undertaking infringes paragraph 1, it shall be liable to compensate the requesting undertaking for any resulting damage. Ordinary legal recourse is given.
(5) The duties and responsibilities of the competition authorities under the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) shall remain unaffected.
This provision will be crucial for access to digital platforms. It constitutes a sector-specific access regulation; a sober approach, particularly in connection with the debate on the political role(s) assigned to antitrust law.