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Vestager Says EU Should Not Lessen Competition Rules During Crisis

 |  May 7, 2023

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager emphasized the importance of maintaining strong competition enforcement in the European Union, even during times of crisis.

“In normal times and in times of crisis, the long game is not about changing the rules, protecting the players, it’s about expanding the field,” Vestager said in a speech in Stockholm to mark the EU’s Competition Day.

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“Well, I believe we must address this narrative head-on. And – which won’t come as much of a surprise – I consider that we should reject it.

That is not to say that competition should ignore crises. Competition principles serve to ensure that we are resilient when crises arise and that we tackle them in a fair manner.

Fundamentally, competition policy is an instrument of resilience. Companies that have to compete are leaner and better able to cope when a crisis strikes. Indeed, competition ensures the efficient allocation of resources. It spurs innovation, and keeps prices closer to cost and affordable for consumers. It limits the government’s role in the game to that of a referee – not as one of the players, nor by picking the winner. If we sacrifice our market principles, we will lose these benefits. Not overnight, but over time.”