Opinion Factsheet  

Report on Competition Policy 2018

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Opinion Number: CDR 3686/2019
Rapporteur: LEVEQUE Dominique
Commission: ECON
Status: Adopted
Date: 05/12/2019
 
to highlight that undistorted and effective competition policy is an essential foundation for the European project but that It is not an end in itself but rather a tool for implementing the internal market; this is necessary in order to achieve the European Union's (EU) aims as defined in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which is based in particular on the strategic framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a social market economy, and social progress. The implementation of competition policy must also be consistent with other EU policies (Article 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)), and must comply with the cross-cutting requirements relating to employment, the environment and consumer protection, as set out in Articles 9, 11 and 12 TFEU.

to highlight that the Commission's exclusive competence in competition policy does not exempt it from the obligation to maintain a continuous dialogue and due consideration in the context of the preparation and assessment of competition mechanisms with Member States' public authorities at all levels of government, national competition authorities, the European Parliament, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the European Economic and Social Committee and civil society, and consumer associations in particular.

to underscore that the political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024, presented by the president-elect on 16 July, entail reforms to European competition policy, in particular in connection with the "Green Deal for Europe", new legislation on digital services and the creation of a special public-private fund for IPOs of small and medium-sized companies.
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The draft opinion argues that effective competition is not an end in itself but rather a tool for implementing the internal market, including the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, a social market economy, and social progress. The opinion also draws attention to the political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024 which entail reforms to European competition policy, in particular in connection with the "Green Deal for Europe", new legislation on digital services and the creation of a special public-private fund for IPOs of small and medium-sized companies. Furthermore, the opinion argues that an EU industrial strategy should also include a revision of EU rules on aid and merger control to ensure a level playing field at international level (Franco-German initiative aimed at fostering European Champions). The opinion welcomes the proposal to extend the current block exemption to large undertakings without prior notification and also welcomes the fact that the GBER may provide for simplified block exemptions for very low amounts of aid granted to ETC projects. Finally, it may be interesting to note that point 23 calls on the Commission to check whether the kerosene tax exemption amounts to a distortion of competition benefiting the aviation sector.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- considers that an undistorted and effective competition policy is not an end in itself but rather a tool for implementing the internal market; this is necessary in order to achieve the European Union's aims as defined in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union, which is based in particular on the strategic framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, a social market economy, and social progress:

- highlights that the political guidelines for the new European Commission entail reforms to European competition policy, in particular in connection with the "Green Deal for Europe", new legislation on digital services and the creation of a special public-private fund for IPOs of small and medium-sized companies;

- reiterates that its belief that "an EU industrial strategy should also include a detailed and evidence-based revision of EU rules on aid and merger control to ensure a level playing field at international level, in accordance with global trade policies and multilateral agreement. At the same time, this strategy should also include the investment and innovation potential of state aid and merger operations";

- calls on the Commission to raise the ceiling for de minimis aid from EUR 200 000 to EUR 500 000 over a period of three fiscal years given that this ceiling was established in 2006;

- calls on the Commission to check whether the kerosene tax exemption amounts to a distortion of competition benefiting the aviation sector, based on an incorrect interpretation of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944).

- stresses the difficulties encountered by regional and local authorities in clearly defining "disadvantaged citizens" in connection with social housing and concerning the method for calculating overcompensation.
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