ETUC Resolution for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Competition Policy
Adopted at the Executive Committee of 22-23 March 2021
Including the addendum on Public Procurement adopted at the Executive Committee of 4 June 2021
ETUC KEY MESSAGES
The EU legal framework on competition must contribute to sustainable development in line with the fundamental values, rights, principles and objectives of the Union to ensure coherence between competition, environmental and social policies.
EU competition law needs to address the challenges stemming from digitalisation, to guarantee fair, safe and open digital markets. A level playing field between online and offline markets must be ensured, including for to the respect of fundamental rights and democratic principles.
To confront the impact of globalisation on competition, the EU should identify conditions for the growth of strong and sustainable European undertakings and partnerships in strategic sectors and value-chains of common EU interest. Tackling distortions of competition in the internal market caused by foreign subsidies requires dedicated action.
More inclusive definitions of consumer interests and relevant markets are necessary not only to promote sustainable development but also to more effectively address market concentrations and monopolistic tendencies.
Social and environmental considerations should play a more prominent role in EU merger control to prevent adverse effects on sustainable development. More emphasis should be put on behavioural remedies, to safeguard workers’ rights and prevent employer monopsony power. Workers and trade unions should be properly involved and consulted throughout merger processes.
EU antitrust control must ensure fair competition, sustainable business practices, inclusive markets and the protection of vulnerable actors. On the one hand, this requires clarifications of the scope for sustainability agreements between competitors. On the other hand, it must also be clarified that collective bargaining agreements as such fall completely outside the remit of antitrust control.
EU rules on State aid control should align with objectives promoting green solutions, quality jobs, just transition and an inclusive recovery. To avoid public funding of undertakings in conflict with sustainability principles, green and social conditionalities and inclusive governance structures must be put in place.
EU rules on public procurement should introduce a clear obligation for eligible contractors to respect the fundamental right of workers to organise and to collective bargaining and ensure full compliance with working conditions as established by collective agreements and/or by law. Sustainable tendering criteria should be strengthened, grasping the full potential of public purchases in speeding up transitions towards climate neutrality, circular economy and upward social convergence.