European Competition Forum 2013
by Vice-President Joaquín Almunia
Competition policy has sustained the European project since its inception. By ensuring fair competition in the Single Market and preserving its integrity, it has laid solid foundations for our economic, social, and political progress.
In the aftermath of the crisis, the people and the countries of Europe must stand closer together. We must build on our past achievements to emerge from these uncertain times stronger than before. The distinguished personalities that will animate the debate of the second European Competition Forum will help us understand the many ways in which competition policy can be enlisted in this battle.
Now that the EU is regaining a degree of fiscal and monetary stability, deepening the internal market and making sure that it works smoothly are the cheapest, quickest and most effective means to create the conditions for a long period of sustainable economic expansion. Continent-wide and well-functioning markets can stimulate economic activity and create fresh job opportunities for the growing numbers of Europeans in search of employment.
In addition, the openness, fairness and impartiality that are the hallmarks of competition policy in the EU can guide relations with our trade partners around the world, especially as regards the role of the State in the economy. This is the first topic this year's Forum will debate. The two other main topics are equally vital for Europe's economy: what competition policy can do to deepen the Single Market and nurture innovation, and its role in the financial sector in a post-crisis world.
I am convinced that competition policy can still do a great deal to sustain the European project. It can rekindle our trust in the power of the Single Market and that, in turn, will encourage us to look to our future together with renewed confidence.
I wish everyone a stimulating and fruitful European Competition Forum.