Biennial Report of the Monopolies Commission under § 44(1) ARC, 29 July 2020

Monopolies Commission: Strengthening the competition regime in Europe in times of the Corona crisis, digital change and growing challenges from Chinese state capitalism

Germany has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union at a time of great challenges for the competition regime in Europe. The Corona crisis poses a lasting threat to economic stability. As a result of recession and structural changes, concentration will increase in many markets. The push in digitalisation that is linked to the crisis will further strengthen the market power of the leading digital companies. China, which supports state and private companies within the framework of its economic policy and influences their activities, additionally constitutes an increasing burden for European companies in the internal market. Strengthening the competition regime in the crisis will be one of the major tasks for Germany’s Presidency of the Council. What is needed is a counter-draft to industrial policy approaches that would permanently damage competition in the internal market and thus endanger a key element of the European economic order.

The Chairman of the Monopolies Commission, Prof. Achim Wambach, Ph.D. observes: “The European internal market is a story of success. Competition in the internal market should be strengthened by new instruments. The German Federal Government can contribute to this by advocating the regulation of platform during its Presidency of the Council. The abuse of market power by dominant platforms must be prevented. In addition, an instrument that is applicable to third country subsidies should be introduced. Its aim is to ensure fair competition between European and, notably, Chinese companies.”

In its Biennial Report “Competition 2020”, the Monopolies Commission makes recommendations on how the competition regime in Germany and Europe can be strengthened. Today, the Monopolies Commission presented its report to the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier.

Policy Brief | Issue 4 | 29 January 2020

In its fourth policy brief, the Monopolies Commission discusses the draft bill for a Tenth Act to amend the Act against Restraints of Competition for a focused, proactive and digital competition law 4.0 (Competition Law Digitisation Act).

  • The new types of abuse for companies with paramount cross-market significance should not be introduced in haste.
  • In the case of exploitative abuses, a causal link between dominant position and abusive behavior should still be present.
  • The companies affected by the proceedings should be required by law to cooperate more strongly if effective enforcement by the antitrust authorities cannot otherwise be ensured.
  • An increase in the merger notification thresholds and the associated lowering of competition protection should be combined with a targeted increase of merger review in regional markets.

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Sector Report pursuant to Sec. 44 of the Postal Services Act, Bonn, 3 December 2019

  • Competition on the letter market remains insufficient, while it is intensifying on the parcel market
  • Control of abuse of dominance on the letter market should be intensified
  • Consumer protection is to be strengthened by improving the approval procedure for letter postage and by introducing binding conciliation procedures