Competition in the internal market
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This area is concerned with the likely impacts of policy measures and initiatives on the pursuit of the economic objective of achieving fair and free competition within the Union. This market condition, through the creation of the normative and regulatory conditions for the improvement of market efficiency, facilitates the movement and efficient allocation of production factors and ultimately ensures that an adequate share of the economic benefits of free and fair competition accrue to consumers, by creating the conditions for ample consumer choice and for the stabilisation of low prices.
Furthermore, the well-functioning of the market under conditions of free competition, by stimulating innovation boosts the competitiveness of European firms on the international markets. Although the completion of the Single Market abolished intra-EU customs tariffs and equivalent charges, free competition within the Union can be affected by monopolistic behaviours and technical barriers to trade and business establishment. Therefore, EU policies most directly affecting competition within the union include: i. Competition policy; ii. Product law harmonisation policy, aimed at removing technical barriers to trade as a precondition for the completion of the internal market, which is now based on essential requirements (thresholds of protection for the whole of the Community in the area of health, safety and consumer protection) and on procedures for assessing conformity of industrial products to the essential requirements; iii. Consumer policy, focussed on the protection of the health, safety and economic interests of consumers, and on their right both to information and education and to organise themselves in order to safeguard their interests.
According to the Impact Assessment Guidelines of the European Commission, the following key question is of particular importance when examining the impacts of policy initiatives on competition in the internal market:
This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents. The text is partially adapted from:
Overview of the European Union Activities: Competition
EC related information:
- Activities of the European Union: Competition
- European Commission: DG Competition
- JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission.