Opening Statement of the European Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear colleagues,
as representative of DG COMPETITION of the European Commission it is a great pleasure for me to discuss with you during the course of this week a number of important issues relevant to international cooperation and technical assistance. This Fifth UN Conference on Competition Policy in my view provides an excellent opportunity for developed and developing countries to meet and exchange views on competition policy issues, which are highly relevant to the welfare and the economic and social development of our respective countries and regions. As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz observed: “Strong competition policy is not just a luxury to be enjoyed by rich countries, but a real necessity for those striving to create democratic market economies”.
I am looking forward to an exchange of our respective experiences in the field of international cooperation. Speaking about international activities, it is fair to say that for DG COMPETITION 2005 was a very busy and challenging year. To give you a few highlights I would like to mention the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia, the first OECD peer review examination scrutinizing European competition law as well as the considerable amount of progress achieved in the framework of the ICN. I should, in particular, mention our joint efforts to fight international cartels. In addition to that we have decided this year to cooperate more closely on issues of unilateral conduct. And last but not
least this Conference organized by UNCTAD and the Turkish authorities to which we are very much looking forward.
UNCTAD has over the years produced work of considerable value for the international antitrust community. One of its most important achievements is the UN model law on competition policy. This instrument is unique for the very broad consensus its elaboration involved and is very useful for developing countries, which are in the process of establishing competition regimes or have recently done so.
Given this track record, it is not surprising that this conference has a very ambitious agenda. Following up on the recommendations of the 2004 meeting of IGE it features issues of major concern to the international community of competition agencies. I would like to point to the
very comprehensive reports on international cooperation in competition policy issues and on common provisions in bilateral and regional cooperation agreements. I should also mention the panel discussions on economic analysis in competition law enforcement and on techniques for gathering evidence on cartels. As you know, the role of economic analysis and anti-cartel enforcement are also key issues on the agenda of DG COMPETITION. There are still many unresolved issues we need to tackle in a common effort and we welcome this opportunity to learn from each other.
To conclude my opening remarks I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Panitchpakdi, the Secretary General of UNCTAD, for inviting the European Commission to this conference. I would also like to thank Turkey and in particular the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan for hosting this event and, last but certainly not least, I would like to thank the UNCTAD secretariat who has organised this conference and in particular Mr. Philippe Brusick and Mr. Hassan Qagaya from the UNCTAD secretariat in Geneva, who are responsible for the substantive work programme of this event and kindly helped us to prepare for the different sessions.