Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Competition Policy and Financial Crises Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

The Nordic competition authorities have published the interesting Competition Policy and Financial Crises Lessons Learned and the Way Forward.

ABSTRACT: In their semi-annual meeting in Helsinki in March 2009, the Directors General of the Nordic competition authorities discussed the financial crisis, its economic impact on the real economy as well as how the crisis had affected the respective Nordic competition authorities.

The directors unanimously agreed and stressed the importance of not weakening competition policy in times of crisis. Furthermore, they underlined the importance of adhering to public procurement law and regulations. This applies to state aid as well. The crisis must not be used as an excuse for measures lessening or distorting competition and trade, neither within the internal market nor internationally. At the same time, and as evidenced by history, this view has and will expectedly be challenged further as the crisis evolves. Thus, the Directors General acknowledged the need to substantiate why competition policy is important for fast economic recovery from the crisis.

This is the background for this report. The mandate outlined by the Directors General asks for a review of how the crisis has affected the economies of the Nordic countries, and the respective measures imposed to counteract the negative effects. The working group was also asked to take a historical perspective on previous crises, and briefly review the lessons learned from a competition point of view. Yet another issue to be covered is how competition policy has been challenged so far during the crisis. In this regard, a presentation of the Icelandic experience would be particularly relevant and important. The mandate also stated that before concluding with specific recommendations, the working group should review experience on the connection between competition, innovation and economic growth.

The members of the working group have been:
• Niels Enemærke ([email protected])
• Tom Björkroth ([email protected])
• Martin Hasforth Harms ([email protected])
• Þórólfur Heiðar Þorsteinsson ([email protected])
• Valgerður H. Kristinsdóttir ([email protected])
• Kjell Jostein Sunnevåg ([email protected]) (head)
• Arvid Fredenberg ([email protected])


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