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Call for contributions

Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation

On 17 January 2019, Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition, will host a one-day conference featuring a keynote speech by Nobel laureate Professor Jean Tirole, in Brussels on

'Shaping competition policy in the era of digitisation'.

As Commissioner Vestager said in a speech on 18 September 2017, being open to new ideas is especially important now because markets are going through enormous changes as a result of continuing technological developments.

This is why Commissioner Vestager appointed a panel of three advisers from outside the Commission. The panel is made up of Professors Heike Schweitzer, Jacques Crémer and Assistant Professor Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye. They are working on a report on the future challenges of digitisation for competition policy, to be delivered by 31 March 2019.

Commissioner Vestager has also announced her intention to organise a conference to discuss the topic with a broad variety of contributors.

The conference will feature a keynote speech by Professor Jean Tirole and will include three panel discussions, each chaired by one of the Commissioner's special advisers. The topics of the panel discussions are outlined below.

The conference and the report from the Special Advisers are designed to provide input to the Commission's ongoing reflection process about how competition policy can best serve European consumers in a fast-changing world. The conference may also help to identify problems and solutions as markets go through rapid changes. The objective is to identify the key upcoming digital challenges and their implications for competition policy.

In this context, the European Commission has sought contributions in particular from those stakeholders that are involved in or affected by the digitisation of the economy.

Contributions received

  • 4iP Council en
  • Serafino Abate en
  • AFCAR Alliance (the Alliance for the Freedom of Car Repair in the EU) en
  • AFEC (Association française d'étude de la concurrence) fr
  • AmCham EU en
  • Article 19 en
  • AT Internet en
  • Gavin Baird, Hal Varian and Maurits Dolmans en
  • Fabian Stancke and Jörg Karenfort - BDI - Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. en
  • Belron  en
  • Anthony Benavides en
  • Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA en
  • BEUC en
  • Yann Bonnet, Camille Hartmann, Judith Herzog fr
  • Booking.com en
  • David Bouie, Antoine Dubus, and Patrick Waelbroeck en
  • Brave Software en
  • Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde (Austrian Competition Authority) en
  • CCIA (Computer & Communications Industry Association) - Main document en
  • CCIA (Computer & Communications Industry Association) - Annex en
  • CECRA en
  • Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) en
  • Center for Data Innovation en
  • Anca Chirita en
  • Giuseppe Colangelo and Mariateresa Maggiolino en
  • Pablo Ibáñez Colomo en
  • Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia en
  • Competition and Markets Authority en
  • Danish Agriculture & Food Council en
  • Danish Chamber of Commerce en
  • DIGITALEUROPE en
  • Maurits Dolmans, Jacob Turner, Ricardo Zimbron en
  • eMAG en
  • EMMA - ENPA en
  • EPICENTER en
  • Samson Esayas en
  • ETNO en
  • European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) en
  • EURIM - Digital Policy Alliance - Input to panel 1 en
  • EURIM - Digital Policy Alliance - Input to panel 2 en
  • European Broadcasting Union en
  • European Publishers Council en
  • European University Association en
  • Facebook en
  • FairSearch en
  • Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi (Frieh Associés) en
  • FIGIEFA - International Federation of Automotive Aftermarket Distributors en
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft en
  • Peter Frisch en
  • Frontiers en
  • Damien Geradin en
  • Anna Gerbrandy en
  • Glade Michel Wirtz en
  • Group La Poste - Input to panel 1 en
  • Group La Poste - Input to panel 2 en
  • Group La Poste - Input to panel 3 en
  • GSMA - Main document en
  • GSMA - Data value chain en
  • Guardian Media Group en
  • IMPALA en
  • Independent Retail Europe en
  • IndustriAll en
  • IndustriAll - Big Data en
  • International Center for Law and Economics en
  • Intesa Sanpaolo en
  • Istituto per la Cultura dell'Innovazione en
  • ITI – The information Technology Industry Council en
  • Nicola Jentzsch en
  • Natascha Just en
  • Torsten Körber en
  • Jan Kupcik en
  • Linklaters en
  • Michael Mandel (Progressive Policy Institute) en
  • Markenverband en
  • Mediaset en
  • Microsoft Corporation en
  • Udo Milkau and Jürgen Bott en
  • Mobivia en
  • Aymeric de Moncuit en
  • Monopolkomission en
  • Mozilla en
  • News Corp en
  • News Media Europe en
  • Open-Xchange AG en
  • Oxera - Algorithmic Competition en
  • Oxera - Data en
  • Oxera - Market power Digital Markets en
  • Privacy International en
  • ProSiebenSat.1 en
  • Qualcomm en
  • Valérie Rabassa en
  • Antonio Robles and Martín-Laborda en
  • RTL Group en
  • Christian Rusche en
  • Daniel Schnurr and Jan Krämer en
  • Falk Schöning and Myrto Tagara en
  • Thibault Schrepel  en
  • Sebastian Louven (Oldenburg Centre for Law of the Information Society) en
  • Slaughter and May en
  • Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) en
  • Spotify AB en
  • Konstantinos Stylianou en
  • Telefonica en
  • Florence Thépot en
  • Tilburg Law and Economics Center en
  • Union des Fabricants (Unifab) en
  • Vodafone en
  • Sally Weston en

Topics for discussion

The discussions should encourage reflections on the implications of digitisation for competition policy.

Panel 1

COMPETITION, DATA, PRIVACY, AND AI. In a world of ubiquitous data, thanks to, for example, 5G, the Internet of Things and connected cars, where would we have data bottlenecks – or, conversely, data access, data sharing or data pooling – causing competition issues? In which ways should privacy concerns serve as an element of the competition assessment? Since data is the raw material of artificial intelligence, how do we ensure that AI technology is as competitive as possible?

Panel 2

DIGITAL PLATFORMS' MARKET POWER. The interests of platforms are not always aligned with the interests of their users, which can, as a result of platforms' market power, give rise in particular to: a) leveraging concerns (digital platforms leveraging their positions from one market to another); and b) lock-in concerns (network externalities, switching costs, better service due to accessibility of data make it difficult for users to migrate to other platforms, and allow platforms to “exploit” their user bases). What should/can competition policy do to address these concerns and how?

Panel 3

PRESERVING DIGITAL INNOVATION THROUGH COMPETITION POLICY. Do network effects, economies of scale and 'copycat' products impede innovation? In digital merger cases, is there scope to apply theories of harm based on a loss of innovation and/or loss of "potential competition" more often? Would a focus on innovation require updating our analytical tools?


More details on the conference are available here