Neelie Kroes


This afternoon - and it's nearly evening - I would like us to try to rethink industrial policy. I think it makes no sense to speak of industrial policy and competition policy as distinct, one from the other, let alone as antagonistic policies. I would rather define industrial policy as one which frames the structural conditions necessary to ensure economic success in a globalizing economy. I therefore have no qualms in saying that competition policy should form a central plank in any industrial policy. As a member of the European Commission, I will focus my comments on the interconnect between industrial and competition policy in the European Union. But these issues are not just relevant for Europe. Our challenges are not so different from those facing other economies in today's world. I will first explain why embracing open markets and renouncing protectionism, or what might be characterized as old-fashioned industrial policy, is not only desirable, but imperative. I will then go on to set out some essential ingredients of a modern industrial policy, at least as I see it, and explain why competition policy, in the widest sense, if you allow me, should play a central role in shaping this.