May Plenary debate with Commissioner Margrethe Vestager - Competition for a sustainable society

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At the last May plenary session, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager took part in a debate with the members of the EESC on the topic ‘Competition for a sustainable society’. The challenges of competition policy for the new European Commission and the new European Parliament, in the context of the digital economy and sustainable development, were the core elements of the debates.

In her speech, Commissioner Vestager presented two main challenges to EU competition, namely the digitalisation of the market and environmental change. She put emphasis on innovation: 

Open market is not just about low prices, it is also about innovation, part of that is the innovation to protect the environment, because when our legislators set goals and strict conditions we need innovation in order to be able to meet those goals and strict conditions.

She also highlighted the importance of competition in building citizens’ trust:

We all buy in the marketplace every day. We want companies to compete and give us a fair deal. If markets are open, every entrepreneur has a fair shot at success. That helps to build a society that works for everyone.

During this debate, our President and our Vice-President took the floor. 

Our Vice-President Ms Miltoviča insisted on the importance of consumer protection organisations to be included in the work on competition law and commented on digital platforms.

In order for the single market to work properly our consumers need to be able to trust the products and services no matter where they buy them, she added. Watch her full intervention here.

The President of our Group, Mr Metzler, also took the floor to share his comments on competition. He asked Commissioner Vestager and the European Commission to take into account SMEs and self-employed people in their policies, as the digital transition can threat their working conditions. He also expressed his call for leadership from the Commission to avoid market domination of major players: We need to ensure market access for new players and sometimes changes are making that harder for these new players .  Watch his full intervention here.