Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for May 19th, 2010


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DG Comp has a slogan!

This appears now on top of DG Comp’s webpage, and if my recollections are correct, it was not there a year ago.

I made a quick search: this expression has been, and is still, used on many occasions by other Commissioners (consumer protection, internal market, etc.). “Making markets work better” has thus apparently became the grand, unifying goal of the Commission.

This motto sends a number of messages including subliminal ones:

  • Markets do not necessarily work optimally (no kidding…)
  • As far as DG Comp is concerned, an alternative suitable motto could have been “making markets competitive“. The fact that the motto does not refer to the concept of competition (or to a related concept) implicitly signals that DG Comp may seek to use competition rules to achieve goals not entirely related to competition.
  • The choice of the word “better” (rather than “optimally” for instance) arguably indicates that full, cut-throat competition on markets might not always be a desirable outcome, let alone an achievable outcome.
  • The choice of the word “Making” implicitly indicates that DG Comp believes it can manipulate pro-actively markets and steer them towards better outcomes. Again, this lends support to the view that the Commission does, and will, rely on the EU competition rules to regulate markets.

Written by Nicolas Petit

19 May 2010 at 11:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized