INTERVIEWS - French presidential 2007 elections - Competition policy - French economic competitivity - Consumers policy - Industrial Policy - Liberalisation - Public Service - National champions - European champions - State Aids - Globalisation - Delocalisations - SMEs - Retail distribution - Prices - Royer Law - Producers/distributors relationships - Fines - Criminal - Class actions - Mergers - Rapport Novelli - Merger DGCCRF/Conseil de la concurrence - Gélard Report - Sectorial regulators

Which Competition Policy for France ?

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  What place do you think competition policy should occupy if the French economy is to be fully competitive? What place do you consider competition policy should occupy in the implementation of the policies you propose to put in place if you are elected President of the Republic?
  The European Commission has been pursuing a policy of sectoral liberalisation (energy, postal services, transport, etc.) for more than fifteen years now. How do you assess this policy? Does the quality of public service seem to you to have been diminished as a result? Do the economic results seem to you to be in line with the announced objectives? Would you be in favour of continuing this policy in certain sectors, or taking a break in others?
 Are you in favour of the constitution of "national champions"? If so, do you consider Community competition policy to be an obstacle to the creation of national champions?
 Should the European Commission relax its state aid policy in a globalised economy where Europe’s main economic partners do not apply a comparable policy?

 What role do you see for competition policy in combating relocation and strengthening SMEs?

 The French legislator has sought to put an end to certain abuses observed in the mass retail sector; moreover, the European Commission is questioning the Royer law on commercial town planning. Do the successive reforms aimed at balancing the different forms of trade and the producer/distributor relationship seem to you to have achieved their objectives?

 In 2006, the Competition Council and the European Commission imposed significant financial sanctions on large companies. In order to deter the behaviour that is most harmful to consumers, would you be in favour of strengthening the penal policy for the most serious or recurrent anti-competitive practices, such as cartels or repeat offences? Would you be in favour of setting up mechanisms for bringing actions for consumer damages, such as group actions?
 In France, the system of company mergers is placed under the control of the Ministry of the Economy, and the Competition Council may be called upon to give a simple opinion. The Community merger regime is under the control of the European Commission. Do you think it would be desirable for this Community system to evolve? Transfer of decision-making power to an ad hoc authority or jurisdiction; creation of a mechanism for intervention by the Council of Ministers of the European Union? or any other measure?

 The Novelli report, drawn up on behalf of the Commission des finances, de l’économie générale et du Plan, raised the question of a possible rapprochement between the DGCCRF and the Competition Council through the latter. Would you see any advantages to a change in the current division of functions?

 The Gélard report on independent administrative authorities, carried out by the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Legislation, recommends in particular a rationalisation of the French system of independent administrative authorities. In this context, the questions of grouping together regulators operating in related sectors and the method of appointment were raised. What do you think of this position?

About the interview of candidates in the French presidential elections* What do a man and a woman politician, candidates in the French presidential elections, come to do in a legal journal? Concurrencesis intended to be a scientific journal, a review of practitioners, academics and magistrates, but also a place for exchanges on a subject that is constantly evolving and subject to different orientations. In this subject more than in others, the implementation of the rule of law is above all based on a political choice. In this context, it Concurrencesis intended to be a place where this competition policy can be debated. Our review had already highlighted this by publishing in-depth analyses of EU and North American policies. It was with this in mind that the candidates in the

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Nicolas Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal, Alain Ronzano, Christophe Lemaire, Nicolas Charbit, Which Competition Policy for France ?, February 2007, Concurrences N° 1-2007, Art. N° 13165, pp. 8-15

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