The Twin Transition to a Green and Digital Economy: The Role for EU Competition Law
Chapter in Julian Nowag (ed), Research Handbook on Sustainability and Competition Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, Forthcoming).
24 Pages Posted: 11 May 2022 Last revised: 29 Mar 2023
Date Written: May 11, 2022
The EU’s economic strategy is currently centered on two key pillars: environmental sustainability and digitalisation. While a range of policies need to be implemented and updated to match the challenges of real-world developments, EU competition law is one area that must play its part in achieving the Union’s ambitious objectives. The aim of this paper is to discuss digital and green competition law, and how the two might interact to more effectively contribute to the EU’s green and digital transition. To this aim, we first review the evolution of the discourses on digital and green competition law, specifically how competition law policy-makers, enforcers, and commentators conceptualised the role of competition law in delivering more digitalised and greener market solutions. Building on this, the paper offers insights into common problems and opportunities that competition law might encounter while transitioning into a law that more aptly responds to these major challenges of our times. This discussion is clustered around four central themes, which explore (i) how to integrate public policy goals (in particular, data protection and environmental sustainability) into competition law, (ii) how to measure non-economic harms and benefits, (iii) when competition law should be more permissive and when prohibitive, and (iv) how competition law could assist in creating a digital and green economy. This latter challenge sits right at the heart of the EU’s transition to a digital and green economy, and could require a careful recalibration of competition policy.
Keywords: EU competition law, digitalisation, environmental sustainability
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