EU regulators look to streamline antitrust rules – Reuters

March 31, 2022 by No Comments

European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager looks on during an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Belgium, March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

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BRUSSELS, March 31 (Reuters) – Regulators are looking to update rules, which target companies abusing their market power and those setting up illegal cartels, to make them more efficient, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday.

Under the rules, known as Regulation 1/2003 and in force since 2004, the European Commission has taken on Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google, Apple (AAPL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Meta (FB.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Intel (INTC.O) and imposed billions of euros in fines.

The rules have also allowed the EU competition enforcer to go after car parts cartels, banks’ manipulation of financial benchmarks and other illegal price-fixing groups, putting the EU agency in the forefront of antitrust enforcement.

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The Commission wants to maintain its leading position, Vestager said.

“I’m announcing today that in the coming months we are going to launch an evaluation of Regulation 1/2003, the central plank of our antitrust enforcement framework,” Vestager told a conference organised by economic consultancy CRA.

“It is important that we hear the views of stakeholders concerning what has worked well, and where there is scope for more efficient and effective procedures and enforcement tools; making sure Regulation 1 is truly ‘fit for the digital age’,” she said.

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