20 Jul 2021

Competition Policy and State Aid: Defining a sustainable path for Europe’s recovery

Towards a Resilient and Sustainable Post-Pandemic Recovery

Working Group Report of the New Industrial Strategy for Europe Task Force

Andrea Renda / Agnes Sipiczki

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Competition policy has traditionally been considered separate, if not antithetical, to industrial policy. Today, however, competition policy is increasingly becoming an ally of industrial policy and of the transition towards a sustainable economy. The Working Group’s recommendations reflect the discussions on how to simultaneously promote competition, sustainability, and resilience. To achieve the twin goals of the green and digital transitions, the effective enforcement of competition rules and a proper regulatory environment are necessary. The EU should strive to create a regulatory environment that can provide legal certainty at home and set an example for the rest of the world. The recommendations of the report centre on the notions of sustainability, resilience, and the recognition that changing market conditions and emerging market structures necessitate the revision of the current competition law framework. The report targets four areas of EU competition law: state aids after Covid-19, mergers and acquisitions, horizontal cooperation agreements, and the proposed Digital Markets Act. In addition, the Working Group formulated high-level recommendations regarding the overall aim, toolbox and competition standard used in antitrust decisions. Finally, the report considers how the complementarity of different competition tools can be boosted.