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Competition in the EU and globally [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

14-02-2020

The digital revolution, global trade disputes and low growth in the European economy have, among other factors, revived the debate about the merits and drawbacks of the European Union’s strict competition rules, which cover cartels, market dominance, mergers and state aid. Some politicians and economists argue that competition is an increasingly global phenomenon and that the intra-Community trade context for which the EU competition rules were originally designed no longer applies, and that the ...

The digital revolution, global trade disputes and low growth in the European economy have, among other factors, revived the debate about the merits and drawbacks of the European Union’s strict competition rules, which cover cartels, market dominance, mergers and state aid. Some politicians and economists argue that competition is an increasingly global phenomenon and that the intra-Community trade context for which the EU competition rules were originally designed no longer applies, and that the rules themselves are, as a result, too prescriptive. This emerging view might encourage the Union to pursue a more active and coordinated EU industrial policy, supported by more flexible rules on state aid and mergers in particular. The debate comes at a time when the US–China trade conflict and problems in the World Trade Organization are reshaping global economic competition, with new relationships and partnerships being formed. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the EU’s competition and industrial policy challenges and on the changing nature of global competition. More studies on trade issues can be found in a previous item from this series, published in September 2019.

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

05-02-2020

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

Is data the new oil? Competition issues in the digital economy

08-01-2020

The global debate on the extent to which current competition policy rules are sufficient to deal with the fast-moving digital economy has never been more pertinent. An important part of this debate concerns the market power of large high-tech companies that dominate many online markets. The main factors behind these developments are economies of scale and scope, network externalities, and the rising economic significance of data, which are a highly valuable commodity in an online economy. While being ...

The global debate on the extent to which current competition policy rules are sufficient to deal with the fast-moving digital economy has never been more pertinent. An important part of this debate concerns the market power of large high-tech companies that dominate many online markets. The main factors behind these developments are economies of scale and scope, network externalities, and the rising economic significance of data, which are a highly valuable commodity in an online economy. While being indispensable to the development of potential game changers – such as artificial intelligence – data are also a crucial input to many online services, production processes, and logistics – making it a critical element in the value chain of many different industries. Data-dependent markets are also characterised by a high level of concentration and, according to many experts, high entry barriers relating to access to and ownership of data – which make it difficult to challenge the incumbent companies. On the other hand, the large players are generally considered to be very productive and innovative. Some studies, however, show that the diffusion of know-how and innovation between the market leaders and the rest of the economy may be affecting competiveness in general. One possible way to correct these shortcomings is to regulate the sharing of data. While the risks of policy-making in this field are generally well-known and centre around the need to protect privacy – particularly where personal data are involved – and to prevent the collusive aspects of data sharing, there is currently no global model to follow. The European Union has taken multiple initiatives to unlock data markets through modern, user-centred laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the regulation on the reuse of public sector information. The global thinking seems to gradually favour more prudent oversight of the market, considering its economic heft.

What if hydrogen could help decarbonise transport?

22-11-2019

Cheap hydrogen produced with excess electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind could help fuel-cell technology to break into the mainstream. This could at the same time further boost the competitiveness of wind and solar energy production

Cheap hydrogen produced with excess electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind could help fuel-cell technology to break into the mainstream. This could at the same time further boost the competitiveness of wind and solar energy production

Commitments made at the hearing of Mariya GABRIEL, Commissioner-designate - Innovation and Youth

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Mariya Gabriel, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs’ in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy and on Culture and Education. During the hearing, Ms Gabriel made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Education, ...

The commissioner-designate, Mariya Gabriel, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs’ in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy and on Culture and Education. During the hearing, Ms Gabriel made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Education, research and innovation; and - Culture, youth and sport.

Commitments made at the hearing of Paolo GENTILONI, Commissioner-designate - Economy

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Paolo Gentiloni, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission and include economic and financial affairs, fair and ...

The commissioner-designate, Paolo Gentiloni, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission and include economic and financial affairs, fair and effective taxation and a strong and modern Customs Union.

Commitments made at the hearing of Margrethe VESTAGER, Executive Vice-President-designate - Europe Fit for Digital Age

22-11-2019

The commissioner-designate, Margrethe Vestager, appeared before the European Parliament on 8 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy, Internal Market and Consumer Protection and Economic and Monetary Affairs. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European ...

The commissioner-designate, Margrethe Vestager, appeared before the European Parliament on 8 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy, Internal Market and Consumer Protection and Economic and Monetary Affairs. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission and include a Europe fit for the digital age and competition.

Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Thierry Breton - Internal Market

11-11-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Geographical indications for non-agricultural products

07-11-2019

This Cost of Non-Europe report seeks to quantify the costs arising from the lack of European Union (EU) legislation protecting Geographical Indications (GIs) for non-agricultural products and to analyse the benefits foregone for citizens, businesses and Member States. The report estimates that introducing EU-wide GI protection for non-agricultural products would have an overall positive effect on trade, employment and rural development. More precisely, after approximately 20 years of implementation ...

This Cost of Non-Europe report seeks to quantify the costs arising from the lack of European Union (EU) legislation protecting Geographical Indications (GIs) for non-agricultural products and to analyse the benefits foregone for citizens, businesses and Member States. The report estimates that introducing EU-wide GI protection for non-agricultural products would have an overall positive effect on trade, employment and rural development. More precisely, after approximately 20 years of implementation, such a protection scheme would yield an overall expected increase in intra-EU trade of about 4.9-6.6 % of current exports (€37.6-50 billion) in the more relevant sectors. Expectations are that regional-level employment would rise by 0.12-0.14 % and that 284 000-338 000 new jobs would be created in the EU as a whole. The expected positive impact on rural development would materialise, among other things, through direct support for locally based high-quality producers, rural economic diversification and local producers' capacity to organise collectively.

EU competition policy: Key to a fair single market

30-10-2019

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering ...

Competition policy has been found to make a positive contribution to the EU's economic growth and the EU has one of the most robust competition policy systems in the world. European competition policy encompasses many fields, not least antitrust measures, merger control and State aid. It is enforced by the European Commission, whose decisions can be contested in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Recent policy developments include the antitrust damages system and the framework empowering national competition authorities. Topics discussed in this paper include the role of competition policy in the digital era, merger control, instruments such as the leniency programme, commitments and settlements, and the potential impact of current political developments.

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