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Competition Policy and the Green deal Conference, 4 February 2021

Student challenge – The voters have spoken

The popular vote is now closed. We are pleased to announce the four winners of the Student Challenge:

Despoina Goupou

Agustina Hermida

Ana Popovici

Rosa Warning

Congratulations to Despoina, Agustina, Ana and Rosa.

It has been a keen contest. We wish to thank the over 2,500 people who took part in the popular vote. We are sure you enjoyed reading these remarkable texts. Once again, our warmest thanks go to all the students who rose to the challenge and sent us their abstracts.

The prize for the four winners is having DG Competition publish their scholarly articles. We are inviting them to send us their papers by 15 July 2021. The other eight shortlisted entrants are invited to send us expanded abstracts by 17 June 2012. Finally, all five undergraduate entrants have accepted to send us their term papers. 15 July 2021 is also their deadline.

All texts will appear in a special issue of our Competition Policy Briefs (past issues), which we hope to publish by the end of the year. We hope it will be a bold and thought-provoking collection that will broadcast the views and suggestions of the young. Because greening competition policy is about the future and the future belongs to the young.

What is the Student challenge

When the Competition policy contributing to the European Green Deal conference closed, university students were invited to take the challenge. We asked entrants to watch the conference live or on demand; pick one of the topics discussed; and send us short abstracts that would answer this question: “What would you have talked about if you had been a speaker?” Among the abstracts we received, we shortlisted the 12 best ones and people voted on-line to pick the four winners.

You can watch the 4 February conference recording; read the Student Challenge rules ; and write to us at

Watch this space.

Competition policy and the Green Deal

Thank you to all who responded to our call for contributions on questions about how competition rules and sustainability policies work together. The call for contributions closed on 20 November 2020, and DG Competition received around 200 contributions from everyone with a stake in this issue – including from industry, from environmental groups, consumer organisations, as well as competition experts. The contributions received are published on this page and are now being analysed.

On 4 February 2021, DG Competition organised a conference hosted by Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager. This conference brought together the different perspectives on this important topic. The programme is here . The conference recording can be accessed here, and a short video about the call for contributions and conference is available here. You can see a selection of photos for each panel here .

If you would like to follow a particular panel or section of the conference, you can find the links here:

  • Opening address by EVP Vestager and keynote speech by EVP Timmermans.
  • Panel 1: Our political ambition: What do we want to achieve?
  • Panel 2: Innovation, green growth and the competition rules.
  • Panel 3: What the current antitrust and merger rules deliver, and what they don’t …
  • Panel 4: What the current State aid rules deliver, and what they don’t …
  • Closing remarks by DG Olivier Guersent.

This follows the announcement in a speech on 22 September 2020, at an event hosted by MEP Stephanie Yon-Courtin, by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, of her intention to launch a European debate on how EU competition policy can best support the Green Deal.

Webinar in European Parliament, with MEP Stephanie Yon-Courtin, 22 September 2020

As EVP Vestager said, competition policy cannot replace environmental laws or green investment. The question is rather if we can do more, to apply our rules in ways that better support the Green Deal.

We are looking for input from everyone with a stake in this issue – including from industry, from environmental groups, consumer organisations, as well as competition experts.

Call for contributions


The European Green Deal aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. The goal is for Europe to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050, where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. The coronavirus pandemic makes those ambitions even more relevant. The European Commission has put forward a major recovery plan for Europe to help repair the economic and social damage brought by the pandemic and to kick-start the European recovery in line with the twin green and digital transition goals.

As Executive Vice President Vestager has underlined: “To succeed, everyone in Europe will have to play their part – every individual, every public authority. And that includes competition enforcers.”

The goal of EU competition rules is to promote and protect effective competition in markets, delivering efficient outcomes to the benefit of consumers. Competitive markets encourage firms to produce at the lowest cost, to invest efficiently and to innovate and adopt more energy-efficient technologies. Such competitive pressure is a powerful incentive to use our planet’s scarce resources efficiently, and it complements environmental and climate policies and regulation aimed at internalising environmental costs. By helping to achieve efficient and competitive market outcomes, competition policy hence contributes by itself to the effectiveness of green policies. Competition policy is not in the lead when it comes to fighting climate change and protecting the environment. There are better, much more effective ways, such as regulation and taxation. Competition policy, however, can complement regulation and the question is how it could do that most effectively. The Commission is responsible for the enforcement of competition rules based on its competences under the Treaty and existing EU secondary legislation, under the close supervision of the EU Courts. This means that, short of any changes in the existing legal framework, competition policy’s contribution to the Green Deal can only take place within these clearly-defined boundaries.

Results of the Call for contributions (published on 20 January 2021)

189 stakeholders have provided non confidential contributions. Their replies are available here .

Contact us

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