EU plans more protectionist antitrust rules

The European Union plans to implement more protectionist antitrust rules and encourage companies to share data as part of a reform of the bloc’s industrial policy to give European companies a greater advantage in global markets, Reuters reported. The strategy, drafted by the European Commission, will be published in March. The strategy also includes a more aggressive approach to trade protection for companies that are perceived to benefit unfairly from foreign subsidies.

EU plans more protectionist antitrust rules

Many EU countries and businesses have called on Brussels to adopt a more ambitious and strategic industrial policy, complaining that other countries can take advantage of Europe’s open markets without having to follow the same rules.

Last year, German conglomerate Siemens and French rival Alstom failed in an unsuccessful attempt to secure Antitrust approval from the European Union to create a European rail industry champion.

Under the new policy blueprint, the European Commission will assess and review the EU’s competition rules to ensure that they meet their objectives and contribute to Europe’s strong industries at home and in the world.

Given the growing data economy, the new policy envisions a legal framework to facilitate the use, access and sharing of data and to promote enterprises’ embrace of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

The new strategy also warns foreign governments against unfairly supporting their enterprises while restricting market access, and that the EU is ready to use existing tools or create new ones if necessary, while strengthening customs controls.