Prague, Czechia


So it’s vital that we have the right competition rules for the green and digital future. We’ve already started the process of reviewing all our guidelines and rules, to make sure they’re up to date. And in 2022, that process will accelerate. We’ll have a series of new rules – and we’ll also keep reviewing the effectiveness of our procedural tools, to make sure they’re fit for the digital age. Because competitive markets are never something we can take for granted – and we need to make sure that we have the right tools to protect them effectively. Those developments in competition policy will be part of a huge team effort, across Europe and beyond – an effort not just to rebuild our economy, but to renew it for the green and digital future. It will involve private business and public authorities in every part of our European democracy – EU institutions, national and regional governments, and especially, of course, the French and Czech governments that will, in turn, hold the Presidency of the Council this year. It will involve competition policy and effective enforcement, not just by the European Commission, but through the Office for the Protection of Competition here in Czechia, and the national competition authorities of the other EU countries. Perhaps the most urgent aspect of that renewal will be to build a greener European economy. Last year, Europe already took a vital step forward, with binding commitments to make us climate neutral by 2050, and to cut our carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030. And we’re on track to make 2022 the year when those commitments take practical shape. That will include the new rules we put forward last year in our “Fit for 55” package, which I hope the European Parliament and the Council will adopt in 2022 – giving us the tools we need to reach our emissions targets, in a way that spreads the cost fairly. It will also include the “EU taxonomy”, which will help guide funding for the green transition, and give clarity to investors about the meaning of sustainability – in a way that recognises the fact that each country in Europe starts this transition from a different place. This will also be the year when additional funding arrives that will support this green transition, as a large part of the 670 billion euros from our Recovery and Resilience Facility reaches national governments. Here in Czechia, for instance, more than 40% of that funding will go towards the green transition, renovating buildings to make them more energy efficient, and investing in lower-carbon transport. With such a great need for public investment, it’s essential that we have state aid rules in place that can help governments to make those investments in the most cost-effective way, and without harming competition in the process. And that’s exactly what we now have. In a few days’ time, our new rules on state aid for climate, environmental protection and energy will come into force. Those rules will vastly expand the range of projects that governments can use aid for, to cover all the goals of the European Green Deal. They’ll make it possible for


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