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The platforms that hold the power in the digital economy, and the politics that surround them, are a central topic in contemporary political economy. The EU is widely perceived as a digital laggard, as it is home to very few leading digital corporations, and it is exposed to the market hegemony of the Big Tech platforms. Moreover, the EU is often considered the pioneer of digital regulation, and its platform politics have gained momentum as the EU Commission has unleashed a swathe of new regulatory initiatives, ranging from competition policies to governance of digital content, data flows and platform work. In this essay, we treat platform control and regulation as a matter of contested market design. We offer an analysis of the recent stream of EU platform regulation, questioning how it relates to the historical trajectory of the platform economy and established path dependencies within the EU. We argue that it is characterized by a critical approach to the power of digital platforms and a continuation of negative integration in the EU, and we suggest that it should be understood as a manifestation of counter-hegemonic neoliberalism, as it essentially enforces market-based governance of society through political market design.