Prague, Czechia


justified, sustainable cooperation and an anticompetitive agreement is not always clearly defined and a detailed case-by-case assessment is always necessary. In this context, it may also be mentioned that the EU State aid rules already serve as an effective tool in promoting and achieving environmental objectives. Given the long-term and capital-intensive nature of most environmental initiatives, a number of Member States have leaned towards State aid (e.g., the electric battery project, which involved an investment of € 3.2 billion). In general, we can expect an increase in sustainable State aid in Europe in the context of the European Green Deal. This is also backed by the European Commission’s plans, in particular the European Green Deal Investment Plan, which aims to mobilise at least € 1 trillion in sustainable investments over the next decade, creating a framework to facilitate private and public sector investment in sustainability. On the contrary, the provision of State aid to less environmentally friendly sectors and businesses (e.g. aviation and fossil fuel industries) is likely to be subject to stricter controls or even sustainability commitments in the future. At the moment, it can be noted that European industrial sectors are slowly adapting to the EU’s carbon reduction objectives but, in the future, there will be situations where companies will expect the European Commission and European competition authorities to take these environmental benefits into account when assessing competition cases. Banks and other financial institutions will certainly play a key role in the transition to a green economy. They are the ones who decide which projects or companies get money to develop their business, and from this year onwards, under the new regulation, they will have to verify the environmental impact of projects and will also be obliged to report on how they consider data on these impacts. A survey of domestic banks’ attitudes to climate protection, conducted last year, indicated that six of the eight largest banks in the Czech Republic are already refusing to lend money for investments in the coal industry. This trend will undoubtedly affect other areas in the future as well and even has the potential to affect the behaviour of some undertakings and competition in general. Last year, the European Commission has already shown that it will not tolerate anticompetitive behaviour that could affect the development of sustainability by imposing fines on four German automotive companies for concluding a cartel agreement to restrict the development and introduction of emission control systems for passenger cars. According to the European Commission, these car manufacturers possessed technology used to reduce harmful emissions to a greater extent than what European Union policy stipulates. However, they had only used it to the extent required by law and had thus not applied its full potential. The European Commission has found such behaviour to be an infringement of EU competition rules, as it is essential for Europe to innovate the automotive industry


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