My vision for competition policy in Europe is linked to my political vision of Europe as an area of peace and stability, freedom and democracy. I see competition policy as a means of strengthening our social market economy, and enhancing its efficiency and fairness.
Together with the euro and the internal market, competition policy gives Europe the means to create more prosperity for its citizens. Competition between companies leads to a better choice of products and services at lower prices, to the benefit of consumers, businesses and society as a whole. Competition also leads to increased innovation and greater productivity, and contributes to the objective of enhancing Europe’s competitiveness on the global stage.
As Competition commissioner, I'm here to ensure that competition policy delivers for consumers and for businesses. To that end I will focus on fighting against cartels, preventing dominant companies from abusing their market power in any sector or any country in Europe, and maintaining a rigorous scrutiny of proposed mergers. I also intend to further consider how to achieve effective compensation for victims of illegal antitrust behaviour.
As regards state aid control, the most pressing issue is to manage the financial crisis and its impact, but I will also examine to what extent it is possible to streamline state aid control procedures.
Competition policy must help to guarantee accessible and affordable high-quality public services, which are fundamental to citizens' well-being and quality of life and which also contribute to social and territorial cohesion.
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Joaquín Almunia, European Commissioner for Competition.