Past Event

Rethinking industrial policy in the digital age: challenges for Europe

All-day conference about how the European policy-making will have to adapt to the digital transformation.

Date: March 21, 2019, 8:30 am Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy

VIDEO & AUDIO RECORDINGS

At this high-profile conference we looked at the digital transformation and the disruption it may cause in various fields. Consisting of four panels, the event provided a platform to look at 4 different aspects of the digital age: industrial policy, competition policy, Internet of things, and sustainability.

summary

This day-long event included 4 panel discussions and a lunchtime keynote address. The topics ranged from industrial policy and competition policy to the advent of 5G in Europe and sustainability issues in the digital transition.

The first panel focused on the potential of developing a coordinated industrial policy in Europe. Europe is currently behind the United States and China in terms of R&D innovation in digital technology advancement. As a result, there has been much discussion on whether or not the EU is in need of an industrial policy that would promote growth in the digital sector. The panelists were of differing opinions in answering this question. The panelists who insisted that the EU needs such a strategy cited issues of scale, namely that larger digital firms tend to be more powerful in a global market because of their access to data that other firms do not possess. Others stated that Europe is not in need of a coordinated industrial policy that may tend to prop up larger firms while hindering innovation from smaller start-ups. Others took a position that brought together compelling points from both sides, stating that Europe would benefit from a coordinated industrial policy that would increase competitiveness with the US and China in the digital sphere but that steps must be taken to ensure that smaller firms can still compete fairly. In order to achieve this, the EU should engage in sharing of data with all firms (to prevent the largest firms from having an accumulated advantage from data possession) and should seek to level the international playing field by seeking to strengthen WTO enforcement of unfair competition laws.

The second panel focused on competition policy in the digital age, with some panelists stating that Europe needs stricter enforcement of antitrust policies while others stated that this was not necessary. Several panelists explained that antitrust policy could be used to force European firms to share data. There was also a push for joint-international ventures between firms as a means to help Europe be internationally competitive yet still adhere to strong competition policy. The panelists discussed how in Europe there is a demand not necessarily for a better competition policy but rather for faster implementation of current policies. A panelist from Facebook, however, explained that sometimes competition policy enforcement does not benefit the consumers. Rather, when larger companies buy up start-ups, they often times provide them with the resources (both technical and monetary) that they need in order to succeed in bringing their services to consumers. Without Facebook, the panelist noted, instagram would never have become what it is today.

The lunchtime keynote address focused primarily on the importance of creating a special ecosystem for the sharing of data. The speakers emphasized that “data is like air” and that the data of big companies is really a public good. For Europe to be globally competitive in the digital sphere, there is a need for privacy rights and data sharing as these will make competition possible. In the tech world, without good data, even the giants fall into an innovation deficit. Europe can be globally competitive & adhere to competition policy by sharing such data and allowing for potentially powerful start-ups to take root in European soil.

The afternoon sessions focused on Europe’s 5G capacity and digital sustainability. There was a lot of talk on how the EU is preparing for the implementation of a 5G network and how many member states are contributing to this preparation to such an extent that by 2020 most if not all European states will be participating in 5G networks. With this transformation comes issues, of course, one of which is the potential digital divide that could lead to inequalities if urban areas have 5G while rural areas do not. There are also issues of trust and security, to which panelists from Huawei and the European Parliament responded by explaining that 5G is in many ways better than 4G when it comes to security issues. In the sustainability session, the major focus was on how the digital transformation does indeed create “new” waste (as in more phones disposed of, etc.) but also has the potential to dramatically reduce the human waste footprint. Through increased use of electricity and data, costs associated with energy will decrease while emissions will decrease, creating a win-win scenario. The panelists emphasized the importance of stimulating investment in these areas so that this positive reality can come about.

Notes by Davis Cousar

event materials

Presentation by Reinhilde Veugelers

Presentation by Jan Mischke

Presentation by Tony Graziano

Presentation by Georg Zachmann

Schedule

Mar 21, 2019

8:30-9:00

Check-in and welcome coffee

9:00-10:15

Panel I: Industrial policy and digitalisation

Chair: Reinhilde Veugelers, Senior Fellow

Philipp-Bastian Brutscher, Economist at European Investment Bank

Maarten Camps, Secretary General at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy

Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Berkman Klein Fellow, Harvard University

Jan Mischke, MGI Partner, Zurich

10:15-10:45

Coffee break

10:45-12:00

Panel II: Competition policy for the digital age

Chair: Mathew Heim, Visiting Fellow

Teunis Brosens, Senior Economist at ING

Thomas Kramler, Antitrust: E-commerce and Data Economy, European Commission, DG COMP

Thorsten Käseberg, Head of Unit, Competition and consumer policy, general competition issues of digitalisation, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany

Timothy Lamb, Associate General Counsel for Competition, Facebook

Philip Marsden, Senior Director for Case Decision Groups, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), United Kingdom; Professor, College of Europe, Bruges

12:00-12:45

Keynote dialogue

Chair: Guntram B. Wolff, Director

Robert Kroplewski, Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Digitization for the Information Society, Ministry of Digital Affairs, Poland

Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director, Vodafone

12:45-13:30

Lunch break

13:30-14:45

Panel III: 5G and Internet of Things

Chair: J. Scott Marcus, Senior Fellow

Lise Fuhr, Director General, European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO)

Andreas Geiss, Head of Unit for Spectrum Policy in DG CONNECT of the European Commission

Tony Graziano, Vice-President of the European Public Affairs and Communications Office, Huawei

Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament

14:45-15:15

Coffee break

15:15-16:30

Panel IV: Digital Transformation and Sustainability

Chair: Georg Zachmann, Senior Fellow

Megan Richards, Director for Energy Policy, DG ENER, EU Commission

Valentino Rossi, Head of Public Affairs, Regulation and Antitrust for Europe and Euro-Mediterranean Affairs, ENEL

16:30

End

Speakers

Philipp-Bastian Brutscher

Economist at European Investment Bank

Teunis Brosens

Senior Economist at ING

Maarten Camps

Secretary General at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy

Lise Fuhr

Director General, European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO)

Padmashree Gehl Sampath

Berkman Klein Fellow, Harvard University

Andreas Geiss

Head of Unit for Spectrum Policy in DG CONNECT of the European Commission

Tony Graziano

Vice-President of the European Public Affairs and Communications Office, Huawei

Mathew Heim

Visiting Fellow

Thorsten Käseberg

Head of Unit, Competition and consumer policy, general competition issues of digitalisation, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany

Thomas Kramler

Antitrust: E-commerce and Data Economy, European Commission, DG COMP

Robert Kroplewski

Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Digitization for the Information Society, Ministry of Digital Affairs, Poland

Timothy Lamb

Associate General Counsel for Competition, Facebook

J. Scott Marcus

Senior Fellow

Philip Marsden

Senior Director for Case Decision Groups, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), United Kingdom; Professor, College of Europe, Bruges

Jan Mischke

MGI Partner, Zurich

Joakim Reiter

Group External Affairs Director, Vodafone

Megan Richards

Director for Energy Policy, DG ENER, EU Commission

Valentino Rossi

Head of Public Affairs, Regulation and Antitrust for Europe and Euro-Mediterranean Affairs, ENEL

Marietje Schaake

Member of the European Parliament

Reinhilde Veugelers

Senior Fellow

Guntram B. Wolff

Director

Georg Zachmann

Senior Fellow

Location & Contact

Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels

Katja Knezevic

katja.knezevic@bruegel.org

Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Oct
24
10:30

Competition policy in the era of AI – the case of Japan and Europe

How can artificial intelligence have a positive impact on the economy? How does AI impact competition policy? How can the EU and Japan become leaders in AI?

Speakers: Eric Badiqué, Grazia Cecere, Taiji Hagiwara, Mathew Heim, Yuko Kawai, J. Scott Marcus, Noritsugu Nakanishi, Tatsuji Narita, Agata Wierzbowska and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The Case for Intelligent Industrial Policy

Although national industrial policies have a bad reputation, there is a strong case for government support to sectors that will increasingly rely on artificial intelligence. In this regard, the German government’s plan to promote production of electric-car batteries may accelerate an industrial renaissance in Europe.

By: Dalia Marin Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: October 7, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Oct
23
16:00

Financial and digital literacy in the age of fintech

How to ensure the safe use of digital payments and other technological innovations in the area of personal finance?

Speakers: Maria Demertzis and Annamaria Lusardi Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event

Upcoming Event

Nov
4
08:30

What industrial policy for the European Green Deal?

This event will be a workshop, aiming to look into the design and implementation process of the European Green Deal. Each session will be introduced by three short presentations aimed at launching the discussion among all workshop participants.

Speakers: Jos Delbeke, Bertrand Déprez, Markus Hess, Kerstin Jorna, Laura Piovesan, Megan Richards, Simone Tagliapietra, Kurt Vandenberghe and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Questions to Sylvie Goulard, Commissioner designate for Internal Market

If confirmed. Commissioner-designate Goulard will soon have direct responsibility for three areas within this broader mandate. Firstly, digital economy and society. Secondly, European industry and the single market. And thirdly, the defence industry and space. Because this diverse brief makes it easy to focus on the trees while losing sight of the forest the role must be defined by a clear overarching strategy

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 30, 2019
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Questions to the Competition Commissioner-designate

Commissioner Vestager has been given two portfolios; Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age and Competition Commissioner. While having more than one portfolio may not be new, combining an important policy coordination function and an enforcement function is a novel approach. This raises a number of important questions related to how the objectives of either portfolio can be delivered cleanly.

By: Mathew Heim Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 27, 2019
Read article More on this topic

Opinion

Banking, FinTech, Big Tech: Emerging challenges for financial policymakers

FinTech and Big Tech firms are both increasingly stepping on banks’ traditional turf. This column introduces the 22nd Geneva Report on the World Economy, which looks at the challenges generated by new technology-enabled entrants to the global banking industry and the public authorities that oversee it. It argues that to respond adequately to the FinTech/Big Tech challenge, authorities will need to raise their game and enter uncharted territories.

By: Kathryn Petralia, Thomas Philippon, Tara Rice and Nicolas Véron Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: September 26, 2019
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Addressing the EU’s Global Challenges Locally: the EU’s Competition and Antitrust Tightrope

This blog is part of a series following the 2019 Bruegel annual meetings, which brought together nearly 1,000 participants for two days of policy debate and discussion.

By: Rebecca Christie and Mathew Heim Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 23, 2019
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

In an era of digitalisation, the Single Market needs a software update

This blog post is part of a series following the 2019 Bruegel annual meetings, which brought together nearly 1,000 participants for two days of policy debate and discussion. For more from the sessions, check out our special-edition podcasts and live audio and video recordings of the event’s public panels.

By: Reinhilde Veugelers and Nicholas Barrett Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 19, 2019
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

China-EU investment relations: Exploring competition and industrial policies

This is a closed-door workshop jointly organised by MERICS and Bruegel looking at China-EU investment relations.

Speakers: Miguel Ceballos Barón, Alicia García-Herrero, Mikko Huotari, Yi Huang and Xu Sitao Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: September 9, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Backstage at BAM19: Designing a competition policy fit for Europe's needs.

Backstage at the Bruegel Annual Meetings, Rebecca Christie talks with Mathew Heim on competition policy.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 5, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Backstage at BAM19: How can Europe's economy thrive in the digital age?

Backstage at the Bruegel Annual Meetings, Giuseppe Porcaro talks with session chair Reinhilde Veugelers on Europe's economy in the digital age.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: September 4, 2019
Load more posts