Industrial policy and competition policy are at the core of the new competitiveness policy framework. Both policies have a direct impact on the business environment in Europe. Coherence between industrial policy and competition policy is crucial for the competitiveness of European industry.
Competition creates incentives for companies to innovate and to increase their productivity and thereby to improve their position in global markets. Through state aid, antitrust and merger control the Commission ensures undistorted competition within the Internal Market. This level playing field ensures access to the large and sophisticated EU common market for all European companies, including SMEs.
More precisely and by way of example:
- Antitrust is an important tool to protect European firms from practices which are damaging to their competitiveness, such as price fixing, capacity hoarding or prevention of cross-border activities. This is in particular essential for input markets, such as critical raw materials or business-to-business services.
- Merger control is an essential tool to allow companies to restructure and to expand their global reach through mergers, whilst ensuring that European consumers and businesses are protected against price increases and other anti-competitive effects.
- State aid control is essential to avoid distortions in the Single Market and to ensure that subsidies promote the competitiveness of sectors and companies. The EU's State aid regime, a system that is unique in the world, provides a framework that directs Member States' investments towards addressing clearly identified market failures.
The enforcement of EU competition policy is the responsibility of DG Competition. DG Enterprise and Industry is closely associated with such enforcement and contributes to individual cases with its knowledge of the regulatory and competitiveness situation of specific sectors of industry. More information on the key players in antitrust proceedings can be found in the document "Proceedings for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU " [60 KB].
Furthermore, DG Enterprise and Industry contributes to draft legislative proposals related to antitrust, mergers and State aids and ensures coherence between the objective to strengthen the competitiveness of EU industry and the competition policy objectives. More information on can be found here in the European Competitiveness Report 2011 / Chapter 6 / EU Industrial policy and global competition [373 KB] .