Lisbon Conference - Panel III - Competition Policy in times of crisis : which enforcement practices best fit the principles ? (15th January 2010)

The US economy is much freer than the European economy. As a result new opportunities are much easier to be exploited. Europe has changed dramatically in the past 20 years under the leadership of the European Commission. The gap with the US is not filled. A great effort still needs to be made in order to eliminate a number of unjustified regulatory restrictions that still block domestic economies. The introduction of competition impact assessment techniques would help and so would the creation of a more vocal advocate for competition, either a minister of competition like in Australia or giving the chairman of the competition Authority ministerial status. However Europe is better placed than the US because of the existence of State aid rules that limit the amount of subsidies national governments are providing to firms, helping Governments resist business requests for bail outs. In the US there is no discipline on amount of aid to be granted. As a result the European economy will exit from the crisis more efficient than it would have otherwise. The same on antitrust. The less ideological approach that with respect to the US the EC has developed in the field of exclusionary abuses will tend to maintain in the market efficient firms that otherwise, with a contracting economy, might leave the market. Active antitrust enforcement in Europe will help mitigate the effect of the crisis, while the hands off of the US may well exacerbate it.

The economic crisis : Which jurisdiction is better placed the US or the EU ? Alberto HEIMLER Scuola superiore della pubblica amministrazione, Rome 1. These are bad times for competition and for competition oriented reforms. The community of antitrust authorities is very worried that the “golden decades” of liberalization are over. It should not be. There is nothing new in this negative attitude against competition. All throughout the years competition was fiercely resisted, except in some countries and for some (short) periods. The reasons are very profound and are independent of the current crisis. Competition operates via two channels : creation and destruction. The sequence is clear : because of greater opportunities new activities are created and, as result, old obsolete

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  • Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione
  • Baudenbacher Law (Zurich)
  • Schellenberg Wittmer (Zurich)


Alberto Heimler, Carl Baudenbacher, Frank Bremer, Lisbon Conference - Panel III - Competition Policy in times of crisis : which enforcement practices best fit the principles ? (15th January 2010), mai 2010, Concurrences N° 2-2010, Art. N° 30911,

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