INTERVIEW : DG COMP POLICY - STATE AID POLICY - INDUSTRIAL POLICY - REGIONAL COHESION - EUROPEAN COMPETITION NETWORK - REGULATION 1/2003 - AID TO FAILING COMPANY - NATIONAL CHAMPIONS - EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS - PUBLIC SERVICE - INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION POLICY - INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION NETWORK - ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

Mario Monti (European Commission): Former Commissioner in charge of competition policy

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- At the end of your term of office, what is your assessment of the contribution of Community and internal competition policies?

How do you respond to the criticism that competition policy is being given less importance than other Community policies such as employment policy or territorial and social cohesion? How do you explain the recurrent nature of these criticisms despite the Commission’s efforts?

In the case of rescue aid, do you not think that priority should be given to safeguarding jobs?

Some recent cases (Ryanair-Charleroi, Alstom, Alitalia...) suggest that industrial policy issues have an increasing role in the application of the Community State aid regime. Given the economic stakes involved, has it not in some cases become very difficult for the Commission to simply apply the rules without taking these considerations into account? In the absence of "national champions", should there not at least be "European champions"?

Can competition policy contribute to the fight against relocation? In particular, what about relocation to the new Member States?

Your term of office was marked in particular by a greater consideration of economic criteria in decision-making. Isn’t the Competition Division evolving towards a regulatory role to the detriment of the legal approach? Moreover, economists’ points of view very often diverge; in these circumstances, how will the Court be able to assess the merits of an economic analysis? Are you not also afraid that the increasing use of expensive economic expertise will pose a problem of equal access to justice?

Regulation 1/2003 only entered into force on 1 May 2004. But the European Competition Network was operational well before that date. Are you currently satisfied with the functioning of the ECN? What can be done to improve it? Could you tell us about a concrete case since 1 May where there has been a procedure for distributing a file between different national authorities?

How do you judge the evolution of the debate on public services? Do you feel that the intervention of the Court of Justice has moved the issue forward?

International cooperation is very important in competition matters. What initiatives could the Commission take in the future with regard to the United States, Canada, Japan, China, the OECD and the WTO in particular? How do you assess the importance taken by the International Competition Network?

At the end of your term of office, what is your assessment of the contribution of Community and internal competition policies? I believe that this issue actually raises the fundamental question of the purpose and usefulness of a competition policy. In this connection, and without going back over the genesis of the Treaty of Rome, I think it is important to recall that our Community has been based since its origins on an open economy, operating according to market rules. The "founding fathers" rightly considered that a competitive economy not only ensures the growth and competitiveness of our industry, but also creates maximum benefits for consumers and society as a whole. It is not a question of developing competition policy for the sake of applying rules, but of creating the

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  • Italian Senate

Quotation

Mario Monti, Mario Monti (European Commission): Former Commissioner in charge of competition policy, December 2004, Concurrences N° 1-2004, Art. N° 12088, pp. 6-9

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