The EU is looking to adopt new antitrust rules that will aim to give European companies more leeway in the market. The new rules, described by Reuters as protectionist, will be unveiled in March.
Documents obtained by Reuters show that the EU wants to adopt a strategy of utilizing more aggressive trade defense instruments against companies thought to be unfairly benefiting from foreign subsidies. While the mission was not to encourage uncompetitive industries or to encourage protectionist ideas, the documents state that the EU can’t afford to abet companies that work against fair competition.
Under the new rules, the Commission will evaluate and analyze new competition rules to make sure they all work toward building a strong European industry and a place for the EU in the world.
There will also be a reckoning with how to approach new technologies, with the documents showing a new framework for how blockchain and artificial intelligence will be dealt with in the future, and to steer companies toward using those things in the future.
The documents signal a promotion of more “Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI),” which will build on things like the eight-billion Euro battery project involving seven EU countries and 17 European companies from 2019. More such projects will involve industries like clean hydrogen technologies, microelectronics and low-carbon industries.
The EU will warn foreign governments more stringently against blockading their companies off and restricting access to their markets, documents say, and the EU will use new or existing tools and enforcing customs controls.
The documents say the EU will “mobilize all relevant tools including rule-making, standards, international financial instruments, trade agreements, public procurement and intellectual property rights to leverage its strengths and advantages.”
As the world continues to become more connected and Big Tech companies continue to evolve, regulation will have to happen in terms of competition. Last year, the EU turned a critical eye toward Apple Pay for its possible anti-competitive practices.
The EU looked into Google’s use of data as well, with an eye towards finding how it mined data.