Many companies are looking for cooperation or a merger in the corona crisis – and last but not least, the state steps in. “The pressure to work together is quite high,” said Achim Wambach, Chairman of the Monopoly Commission, given the economic consequences of the pandemic.
It is good that the state is helping companies – however, it has to set a time limit and set certain rules so that competition does not suffer in the long term, said the chairman of the expert panel that advises the Federal Government when presenting an opinion that the Commission sent to Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) handed over. The same applies to antitrust authorities, which allowed companies to cooperate temporarily in the crisis.
The Commission predicts that the concentration in many markets will increase. A violent wave of bankruptcy threatens in autumn, according to Wambach. State aid such as that for Deutsche Bahn could harm competition in the transport sector. The committee therefore proposes to invest aid funds in infrastructure such as rails, for example, so that they also benefit competitors.
Requirements and exit scenarios for Lufthansa participation required
In the case of state participation in Lufthansa, the committee advocates certain conditions and a clearly organized re-exit. The FDP member of the Bundestag, Reinhard Houben, welcomed this initiative: “The federal government must commit to reselling all holdings that were acquired during and due to the corona crisis after the crisis.”
In addition, the Monopoly Commission called on the Federal Government to campaign for stronger regulation of digital corporations at European level as part of its EU Council Presidency. The digitalization accelerated by the corona crisis led to digital corporations becoming even more powerful – Google and Amazon would also no longer disappear from the scene, Wambach noted. “We need fixed rules, a kind of regulation.”
The Monopoly Commission has an advisory role for the Federal Government. As an independent body, it makes recommendations on competition policy and law. Altmaier thanked for the suggestions and announced that the federal government would examine them intensively.