Competition Policy and Industrial Policy: For a reform of European law

23 January 2020
In Europe the recent period has been marked by the emergence of a debate on the modalities and objectives of the competition policy. The failures of certain merger projects such as Alstom/Siemens raise questions about the inadequacy, or even obsolescence, of existing mechanisms and, above all, the place of competition law in relation to other public policy objectives. Other challenges are also being set for competition law that must be tackled head-on: firstly, the current law faces challenges raised by the digital economy (in particular the power of the GAFA); then, European competition law does not take sufficient account of the competition that European companies face from third countries that do not respect the same principles. In other words, when Europe decides to open up its market, it quickly realises that other countries are not subject to the same constraints and often have more room to manoeuvre to support the implementation of industrial projects likely to contravene competition rules. This is because, in Europe, competition law takes precedence over all other national or Community approaches to industrial policy. On the one hand, this is certainly due to the structure of European texts, in that the Treaty provisions on competition enjoy almost "constitutional status". On the other, competition law instruments are used by the European Commission to pursue objectives that are far removed from the classic notion of competition. Should a rebalancing not be carried out between competition policy and industrial policy so that the objectives of the latter can be deployed?

The full report " Competition Policy and Industrial Policy: For a reform of European law" is available in electronic format as well as its executive summary.

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