President of the Autorité
de la concurrence
The Covid-19 pandemic that we have just gone through has profoundly disrupted the functioning of all sectors of our economy and, beyond that, our society. The State had to demonstrate its ability to react swiftly in order to provide quick and tailored responses to this unprecedented situation. The Autorite has been fully involved in this approach. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Autorite’s teams for rallying together during this particular period.
In this time of crisis, companies have had to work hard to ensure that shops continued to be supplied, with food products especially, supply chains were upheld and health protection equipment was provided across the country. In these circumstances, it was important to reiterate both the possibilities offered by competition law, which may permit some coordination between companies, and the lines that must not be crossed. To enlighten companies faced with these significant challenges, coordinated answers were needed from competition authorities.
This was done through the dissemination of common guidelines drawn up at the European level, within the framework of the European Competition Network under the aegis of the European Commission, as well as within that of the International Competition Network, the ICN. This meant that companies received a clear message about their possibilities for action and the points that would require careful attention.
In addition, within a few days, the Autorité answered requests for clarification from companies and professional organisations. A new era is now beginning, and we will remain vigilant about the longer-term impact of the crisis on the structure of markets. The landscape of company mergers will see lasting change, and efforts to restructure the sectors most affected by the crisis will no doubt take place. Consolidating acquisition policies, particularly by major platforms that have been far less affected by the crisis, require tighter and more careful control than ever.
Merger control is one of the keys to ensuring that competition remains dynamic, particularly in innovative sectors. In this regard, this new context could justify expanding the national and European framework, in order to ensure that acquisitions by dominant or structuring companies do not occur without scrutiny by regulators.
For competition regulation to be fully effective and relevant, it must constantly adapt to changes in the economy. This is why the Autorité is committed to continuously modernising its methods, analyses and tools to address new issues. Focus on a resolute action to meet the challenges of tomorrow and preserve a space of freedom for everyone.
To meet the new challenges facing them and the demands of a global economy, competition authorities are working closely together. The vitality of the relationships and the dialogue in various fora and circles promotes convergence of approaches and tools.
The Autorité has long been dedicated to defining European competition policy and takes widely seen and influential actions within the international competition community.