David O'Sullivan, 17 September 2010

David O’Sullivan, Director General for Trade at the European Commission, talks to Viv Davies about the issues and challenges in setting the direction for future EU trade policy. As a contribution to the VoxEU debate on "The future of EU trade policy", O’Sullivan discusses the EU’s responsibility within the world trading system, trade governance and the WTO, the role of reciprocity, the BRICs and the importance of successfully concluding the Doha Development Agenda; he also comments on the issue of ‘multilateralising regionalism’. The interview was recorded on 15 September 2010.

Ralf Martin, Mirabelle Muûls, Ulrich Wagner, 24 May 2010

This week, the European Commission will release more details of its plans to tighten the greenhouse gas emissions targets in the EU’s Emissions Trading System. A key concern will be the potentially negative impact on the competitiveness of affected businesses. This column argues that industry is successfully exploiting such concerns to obtain free emission permits according to criteria that are too lax. Most of the exempt sectors would not close or relocate if they had to pay for permits, and removing these exemptions would raise €7 billion annually.

Federico Etro, 29 April 2010

Is another IT giant abusing its market position? This column describes the case of IBM – a near-monopolist in the mainframe market – being accused of preventing firm entry by tying its mainframe operating system with its hardware and withholding information for interoperability. The similarities with the Microsoft case suggest that the European Commission’s Director-General for Competition will not go easy.

Federico Etro, 11 November 2009

A merger reduces competition if it leads direct competitors to increase prices or reduce innovation without attracting endogenous entry. This is what is expected in the market for enterprise database systems if the merger between Oracle and Sun goes through. The European Commission is correctly investigating on the anti-competitive effects of this merger

Marco Buti, István Székely, Filip Keereman, 20 June 2009

This column says that the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 members made the EU more competitive and it is therefore better placed to face the current crisis. It says that both old and new member states enjoyed major benefits from eliminating trade barriers, gradually allowing higher cross-border labour mobility, promoting financial integration, strengthening institutions, and significantly reducing political risk.

Rui Albuquerque, Enrique Schroth, 09 April 2008

Should EU takeover regulators force those buying a block of shares to offer the same price to all shareholders? Evidence from the United States, where private negotiations may be exclusive, warns against imposing such a rule.

Frank Verboven, Theon van Dijk, 24 July 2007

Anti-competitive behaviour raises prices and private enforcement action allows ‘victims’ to recover some of the losses. Calculating the losses is not straightforward since the victims may pass-on some of the higher prices for inputs to their customers who then become indirect victims. The EU should allow adjustment for this passing-on and give legal standing to those indirectly affected.

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