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Key issues in the European Council: State of play in June 2020

17-06-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Research for the AGRI Committee - The Farm to Fork Strategy implications for agriculture and the CAP

15-05-2020

The aim of this In-Depth Analysis prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies is to explore the possible implications of the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) for agriculture and the CAP and, as a result, on the legislative works of the AGRI Committee over the 2020 - 2023 period. The analysis is based on the following sources: the Communication on the European Green Deal (COM (2019) 640 of 11 December 2019); the EC roadmap and key actions of the European Green Deal (11 December ...

The aim of this In-Depth Analysis prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies is to explore the possible implications of the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) for agriculture and the CAP and, as a result, on the legislative works of the AGRI Committee over the 2020 - 2023 period. The analysis is based on the following sources: the Communication on the European Green Deal (COM (2019) 640 of 11 December 2019); the EC roadmap and key actions of the European Green Deal (11 December 2019); the EC F2F Strategy roadmap (17 February 2020); the Communication ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM (2020) 381 of 20 May 2020); the Draft Action Plan of the Farm to Fork Strategy (Annex of the EC Communication of 20 May 2020); the Commission staff working document ‘Analysis of links between CAP reform and Green Deal’ (SWD (2020) of 20 May 2020); and others background documents accompanying the F2F Communication of 20 May 2020.

Barriers to Competition through Joint Ownership by Institutional Investors

15-05-2020

In recent years, the phenomenon of common ownership by institutional investors has sparked considerable debate among scholars about its impact on competition and companies’ corporate governance. This study analyses some specific features of common ownership by institutional investors in the European banking sector. It also examines closely the tension between competition policy and corporate governance tools aimed at enhancing shareholder engagement. This document was provided by the Policy Department ...

In recent years, the phenomenon of common ownership by institutional investors has sparked considerable debate among scholars about its impact on competition and companies’ corporate governance. This study analyses some specific features of common ownership by institutional investors in the European banking sector. It also examines closely the tension between competition policy and corporate governance tools aimed at enhancing shareholder engagement. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Autor extern

S. FRAZZANI, K. NOTI, M. P. SCHINKEL, J. SELDESLACHTS, A. BANAL ESTAÑOL, N. BOOT, C. ANGELICI

Study in focus: The Impact of Unfair Commercial Practices on Competition in the EU Passenger Transport Sector, in particular Air Transport

14-05-2020

The study aims at identifying and analysing unfair commercial and trading practices in passenger air transport that not only are detrimental to consumers, but which can also distort competition in the Single Market. The study analyses the main air carrier business models and price patterns, as well as the decisions adopted by the national competent authorities with regard to unfair commercial practices and predatory pricing. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific ...

The study aims at identifying and analysing unfair commercial and trading practices in passenger air transport that not only are detrimental to consumers, but which can also distort competition in the Single Market. The study analyses the main air carrier business models and price patterns, as well as the decisions adopted by the national competent authorities with regard to unfair commercial practices and predatory pricing. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Autor extern

F. SCIAUDONE, K. NOTI, H. SCHEBESTA, F. MORETTI, M. PIANTONI, R. ARANCIO

Reform of the EU liability regime for online intermediaries: Background on the forthcoming digital services act

30-04-2020

The European Union is expected to revise the liability regime for online intermediaries in the forthcoming digital services act. This publication describes the current liability regime set out under the 2000 E commerce Directive, highlights the implementation gaps that have been identified, and presents the main proposals for reform that have been discussed so far. Technology has evolved in the last 20 years and new societal challenges, such as the increasing use of platforms to access and distribute ...

The European Union is expected to revise the liability regime for online intermediaries in the forthcoming digital services act. This publication describes the current liability regime set out under the 2000 E commerce Directive, highlights the implementation gaps that have been identified, and presents the main proposals for reform that have been discussed so far. Technology has evolved in the last 20 years and new societal challenges, such as the increasing use of platforms to access and distribute products, services and information have arisen. As a result, policy-makers will have to address a range of questions, including the extension of the scope of the liability regime and the revision of the liability exemption conditions.

The Impact of Unfair Commercial Practices on Competition in the EU Passenger Transport Sector, in particular Air Transport

08-04-2020

The study aims at identifying and analysing the unfair commercial and trading practices in passenger air transport that not only are detrimental to consumers, but which can also distort competition in the Single Market. The study analyses the main air carrier business models and price patterns, as well as the decisions adopted by the national competent authorities with regard to unfair commercial practices and predatory pricing. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of ...

The study aims at identifying and analysing the unfair commercial and trading practices in passenger air transport that not only are detrimental to consumers, but which can also distort competition in the Single Market. The study analyses the main air carrier business models and price patterns, as well as the decisions adopted by the national competent authorities with regard to unfair commercial practices and predatory pricing. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the ECON Committee.

Autor extern

F. SCIAUDONE, K. NOTI, H. SCHEBESTA, F. MORETTI, M. PIANTONI, R. ARANCIO

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.

Public economic support in the EU: State aid and special economic zones

06-02-2020

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges ...

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges of global competition, the ongoing financial crisis, the digital revolution, and demographic change. To this end, all EU Member States provide some public economic support, for instance, to the coal mining sector, banks, or the digital economy. To contribute to regional development and to increase competitiveness, some Member States have created special economic zones (SEZs), which offer an attractive combination of tax-and-tariff incentives, streamlined customs procedures, less laws, provision of infrastructure, and creation of business clusters. The European Commission is currently evaluating the State aid modernisation (SAM) package and some of its related laws, as these will expire by the end of 2020. The European Parliament takes a two fold stance towards public economic support in the EU. On the one hand, Parliament stresses that State aid should support ecological transformation and foster the development of services, knowledge, and infrastructure rather than providing support to specific companies. On the other hand, it calls on the Commission to ensure that State aid is reduced in the long term, given its distortive effects on the internal market. While the temporary State aid offered to the financial sector to stabilise the EU financial system might have been necessary, Parliament calls on the Commission to scrutinise and eventually remove this aid. Parliament, inter alia, also calls on the Member States to abandon unfair competition practices based on unjustified tax incentives and to adopt appropriate rules in the Council.

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.

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.

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