On February 27, 2020, Concurrences and Shearman & Sterling held a Law & Economics workshop focused on the new European Commission and what it means to competition policy and industrial policy.
David Higbee (Shearman & Sterling, Washington, D.C.) welcomed the panelists and introduced the topic of the forum; the relation between competition law and industrial policy, as well as the way digital platforms interact between the two.
Rainer Wessely (Responsible for Competition and Justice policy, Delegation of the European Union to the United States, Washington D.C.) highlighted that the convergence of competition policy and competition enforcement constitutes a key element of the recently adopted Commission’s Digital Strategy, and is expected to play a leading role in the industrial strategy moving forward.
Mr. Wessely explained that while the previous mandate was mainly devoted to enforcement, with most importantly the ECN+ directive enactment, the forthcoming strategy will be much more policy centric. Specifically, areas such as antitrust block exemptions and state aid rules will be analyzed and revised. Other areas, such as market definitions and the guidance of horizontal and vertical agreements will be carefully reviewed to ensure they reflect the Commission’s priorities, including the green deal, the digital and industrial strategies.