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Neelie Kroes – European Commissioner for Competition

Achieving self-sustaining competition in telecommunications 9th Annual ECTA Regulatory Conference – Brussels, 27 November 2008

I am confident that we will move towards self-sustaining competition through creating new networks and upgrading existing networks. This requires us to closely follow market developments, so that we can intervene with continuity and consistency in order to promote competition.
It is not our role to say who should invest, at which point in time, in which area, using what technology. You are best placed to make such decisions. Because you know your customers, and because you are the ones who bear the risks linked to investing.
The role of the Commission is to foster a common regulatory strategy across the EU. Europe cannot afford to be confronted with a patchwork of inconsistent regulatory regimes. I hear concerns that the turnover of the telecom sector will be directly affected by the ongoing crisis.
As a consequence, some call for a relaxation of antitrust rules. To those who say that I want to answer very clearly: this will not happen. We should remember that competition enforcement strengthens the economy, even – perhaps particularly – in times of difficulty.
In the current economic circumstances, we can certainly not afford inconsistent approaches.
On the contrary, we need to strengthen the single market, which is our best protection against worldwide economic disorder. Strong and consistent application of sector-specific and competition rules is the best way to achieve this outcome.

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