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Press Release – a response to the European Commission’s consultation on levelling the playing field as regards foreign subsidies 
23/09/2020

The ECLF has today submitted a response to the European Commission’s consultation on levelling the playing field as regards foreign subsidies.  

 

The ECLF understands the Commission’s concerns that European companies can be disadvantaged if their competitors are in receipt of foreign subsidies, and that such subsidies might have a distorting effect on the single market. The ECLF therefore generally supports the introduction of new legal instruments to address these concerns and ensure a level playing field in the single market. However the ECLF suggests the Commission limit the instruments to capture only those foreign subsidies that might cause substantive distortions within the internal market.  Otherwise there is a risk that the Commission might take an overly interventionist approach which could increase the administrative burden for businesses – and the Commission – in a range of situations, as well as potentially chilling M&A activity in Europe.  

 

To mitigate against this, the ECLF suggests a range of limitations including narrowing the broad conceptualisation of “foreign subsidies” and/or substantially raising the relevant de minimis thresholds.  Further, in the context of the public procurement regime (Module 3) the ECLF considers it may be more appropriate for the Commission to strengthen the available existing mechanisms rather than to introduce a complex new regime wholesale.

The full submission is available here: a response to the European Commission’s consultation on levelling the playing field as regards foreign subsidies