Prague, Czechia


this issue also affects competition policy. Indeed, the role of competition law has become even more important as a result of increasing efforts to develop sustainable solutions to climate change-related problems. Although discussions on climate change are currently overshadowed by the pandemic, it still remains a serious threat. This is why the European Commission has put the fight against climate change on its agenda and initiated the Green Deal for Europe, which aims to transform the European Union into a modern, competitive economy that will become ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. However, this ambitious goal requires fundamental and extensive changes both at national and European level. I am convinced that significant changes will also take place in competition law. We are already experiencing increased pressure for competition law to be more supportive towards sustainability initiatives. The growing awareness of climate change also has an impact on the approach to protecting consumer welfare, as it is broadening the criteria applied, particularly price, quality and innovation, to include environmental criteria that were previously considered non-economic and unquantifiable. It will therefore be necessary to take environmental criteria into account when assessing mergers, agreements and State aid as well. On the one hand, I am of the opinion that competition law should indeed play a fundamental role in addressing these issues. However, on the other hand, I believe that undertakings themselves are aware of the extent and gravity of climate change, as well as other sustainability issues (e.g. working conditions, animal welfare, etc.), and are voluntarily introducing sustainable solutions to these problems without the legislature having to give them any incentive. In this context, I have to mention the ongoing debate on whether, in the light of the Green Deal, free competition and free movement of people, goods and capital should give way to political or ideological agendas. In November, the European Commission issued a communication on how to promote competition issues, particularly in relation to the Green Deal and innovative technologies, which includes, above all, amendments to Article 101(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and, if applicable, to valid block exemptions. In this context, it would mean, in particular, that certain market practices might not be considered to be an infringement of competition rules if they pursue a different objective, or pursue some other public interest, that outweighs free competition, in particular climate and environmental, in a spirit of the values pursued by the European Commission. It will be important to see how far these efforts go and what rules are set, as competition rules are EU-wide and the change thus affects competition authorities throughout the whole European Union. In particular, it is important to reflect on the potential risks of over-emphasising environmental values over free competition and how changing competition rules


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