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European Commission – Call for Contributions on how Competition Policy could support the European Green Deal

On 13 October 2020, the European Commission published a call for contributions in order to evaluate how EU competition policy can best support the European Green Deal. With this call, it follows comparable initiatives in several EU member states.

The European Green Deal is a comprehensive action plan that aims at transforming the European Union (EU) into the first climate neutral continent by 2050, decoupling economic growth from resource use. With its call for contributions, the European Commission wants to gather ideas and proposals from everyone with a stake in this issue, including competition experts, academia, industry, environmental groups and consumer organisations. In a conference early next year, those different perspectives shall be discussed and brought together.

The European Commission seeks input with regard to three competition law instruments: state aid, antitrust and merger control. To this end, it formulated a number of questions with regard to each of these instruments, discussing how competition law rules may be interpreted and/or amended in order to contribute positively to a greener, more sustainable economy. Deadline for providing contributions is 20 November 2020.

The call for contributions is to be seen in the wider context of ambitious plans by the European Commission to reform competition law and adapt it to the challenges of our time. The reform plans further include, inter alia, the New Competition Tool and the Digital Services Act package.

Furthermore, it is a response to various comparable initiatives on a national level such as the working paper by the Autorité de la Concurrence and other French regulators, the draft sustainability guidelines for assessing the compatibility of sustainability initiatives with competition law by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets, the staff discussion paper on sustainability issues and competition law by the Hellenic Competition Commission or the meeting and working paper of the German Bundeskartellamt on open markets and sustainable activity (in German only). To date, no similar initiative has been started by the Swiss competition authorities, the Swiss Competition Commission and its Secretariat.

CORE Attorneys firmly believe that the worldwide need for action for a greener and more sustainable economy halts neither at competition law nor at the borders to Switzerland. Hence, the debate on how competition law may contribute to a greener economy should be taken up also in Switzerland. Therefore, in a short series of articles, CORE Attorneys will explore this topic in more depth over the coming weeks and months and provide some food for thought in this regard. In the next article, we will show how Swiss competition law evolved over time to the current legal framework and what this means for sustainability and competition law. Stay tuned!

CORE Attorneys is a boutique law firm in Switzerland, focusing on competition/antitrust law, regulatory and distribution law matters. Visit our News & Insights and follow us on LinkedIn for regular updates on all our focus areas.