Advances in Competition Policy Enforcement in the EU and North America
Edited by Abel M. Mateus and Teresa Moreira
Chapter 3: Competition Policy and Consumer Protection in the EU
3. Competition policy and consumer protection in the EU Meglena Kuneva The European Union is decreasing its reliance on regulations and instead firmly believes in the efficiency and the innovative capacity of markets. We have seen only this week a major initiative further to deregulate the electronic communication sector. Healthy markets are the most direct and efficient way to benefit consumers. They allow resources to be used in the way consumers want them to be used. They create incentives for consumer friendly innovations. They provide choice and opportunities to consumers. Healthy markets also deliver best prices. Still, you of all people know that situations can develop in markets where the competitive process is distorted. Competition policy is crucial in the battle against illegitimate practices that harm consumers. Today, more than ever, it is important that competition policy keeps consumers at its heart and strives to deliver the benefits of markets to the European citizens. My dear colleague Neelie Kroes has proven unrelenting in this drive. She has most recently cracked down on cartels in sectors as diverse as elevators, needles and zippers, and beer, all of which are familiar – in some cases perhaps a little bit too familiar – to consumers. She has fined a telecommunications network operator for restricting access to broadband, an essential service for European consumers. She has also proved that she will be intimidated by no one, absolutely no one, in defending the consumer’s interest. Still, more must be done. The Commission firmly believes that the Single...
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