On 10 and 11 April, the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the Hellenic Competition Commission organize the European Competition Day in Athens. This event is a platform to exchange views on EU competition law and to promote competition culture.
Competition is at the heart of a proper functioning internal market that stimulates cross-border trade. It provides the legal framework for EU business. The result is that the event is followed with much interest from all National Competition Authorities, international organizations, judges, representatives of consumer and professional associations, members of the academic community, as well as competition law and state aid practitioners.
The event is spread over two days. The first day of the event concentrates on competition enforcement and policy issues. A central theme that was discussed is novel issues in the retail sector. Commissioner Almunia (pictured) for Competition commented on the digital economy and telecoms as a relevant novelty. In a speech on the first day he stated: “I’ve […] described energy, telecoms and digital as key enforcement domains, because I regard these sectors among the most promising drivers for growth in Europe. If we are serious about sustaining the recovery in Europe after years of recession, we should complete and extend the integration of these markets across the EU and make sure that the best possible competitive conditions prevail. But things are not going that way. […] Building and reinforcing the Single Market through the twin forces of regulation and competition control has always been crucial for our process of integration. This is still the case. But now what is at stake is boosting growth and competitiveness when Europe most needs it. We all know that these are priority sectors for action and we also know that only action at European level will do.”
The second day, 11 April, is co-hosted by the Greek Ministry of Finance and focusses on developments in the field of state aid.
The e-commerce sector is an emerging sector that can contribute to the economic recovery, as is confirmed by Competition Commissioner Almunia. Clear rules on patents, merger and acquisition affect innovation and the level playing field for cross-border industries – such as e-commerce – in Europe. Hence Ecommerce Europe follows the outcomes of the day and will keep its members informed accordingly.