Prague, Czechia


But supporting the digital transition isn’t just about infrastructure. We also need markets that are open for innovation – markets that offer opportunities, not only to a few huge companies, but to businesses of all sizes, from all over Europe. And I hope that in the year ahead, we’ll take some big steps towards a more open digital world. The European Parliament and the Council are now deep in discussions of our proposal for a Digital Markets Act that will help keep our markets open for innovation, by stopping digital gatekeepers from misusing their enormous power. We’ll also move forward this year with a series of investigations that are looking at whether large digital platforms have been harming competition. That includes two cases where we’ve already issued Statements of Objections – one involving Apple, the other Amazon. It also includes a series of other investigations that are at an earlier stage, involving Google and Facebook – or Alphabet and Meta. And just last week, we published the final report of our sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things. Some concerns were raised in the sector, like interoperability concerns, data accumulation or exclusivity practices. We are confident that the findings will contribute to our enforcement actions, regulatory efforts and also prompt firms to rethink certain practices. In other words, 2022 will be a year full of opportunities to lay the foundations of a green and digital future. But it’s European industry that will actually build that better future – and for that to happen, we need European business to be strong and financially secure. The last two years have been incredibly tough for businesses in a whole range of different sectors. But we’ve avoided the sort of wave of bankruptcies that a downturn usually brings – thanks, in large part, to a huge commitment by European governments to helping solid companies stay in business. And the EU has helped to make that possible – not least, with our temporary framework of state aid rules. Since we put that framework in place, in March 2020, we’ve taken more than 700 state aid decisions, approving a total of more than three trillion euros of state aid – including almost 34 billion here in Czechia. But the time has come when European industry needs to prepare for the investments of the future. So 2022 will be the year when we phase out crisis support, and replace it with new possibilities for governments to invest in preparing industry for the future. So that, as public support fades out, private funding will fade in – and European industry won’t fall into a gap between the two. After almost two years of disruption and uncertainty, and a holiday season that we’ve spent under the shadow of omicron, signs of optimism can be a little hard to find. But Europe has faced difficult times before. And we’ve come through


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