Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Thursday, January 10, 2019

An invitation for European industrial policy instead of competition?

One of the biggest lamentations I have from Brexit is that it pushed the moderate Brits out of EC decision-making.  The following headline just appeared from the CPI feed:

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen told journalists on Tuesday, January 8, that he would be “open” to consider changes to update competition law in order to cope with the strong competition of US and China firms, but discarded the idea of reforming antitrust rules “entirely” as they worked “well.”

Katainen, who is in charge of Jobs, Growth, and Investment, said that he understood member states’ demands to review EU antitrust rules, given the fierce competition they faced from abroad.

France is one of the most vocal countries in this crusade to change EU’s antitrust rules.

Basically, Katainen is pushing for more industrial policy and decoupling competition law from the rigorous economic effects-based analysis that we should see in this discipline (overall, I give DG Competition high marks on merger analysis - Carles Esteva Mosso and his team are very strong).  Industrial policy is a mistake within competition law, as I have written elsewhere.  The best way to compete... is to actually compete on price, quality, and innovation.  We don't need more industrial policy seeping into DG Competition or any other competition authority.

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