New rules against unfair foreign subsidies on the internal market

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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Renew Europe believes that international trade and investment is key to the EU’s prosperity. For this to happen, fair competition must be guaranteed outside the EU but also within the internal market. Renew Europe therefore welcomes the large support today by the European Parliament of the intensively negotiated package that the international trade committee together with the economic and monetary affairs and the internal market committees have found in order to provide yet another tool in the Union's trade toolbox to complement our trade agreements.

This is a strong mandate that the European Parliament brings to the negotiation table with the Council and the Commission.

The EU has strong rules for European state aids but these rules do not cover subsidies given by foreign governments to companies that operate on the internal market. In such cases, fair competition within the internal market can easily be distorted, for instance by state-owned companies. That is why it is crucial to also have in place rules that ensure that foreign subsidies do not create distortions, as this harms the competitiveness of our companies, including our SMEs.

While we fully support efforts to find multilateral rules on foreign subsidies, we believe that Commission must be able to investigate and counteract foreign subsidies that distort the market. If there would be any positive effects of such subsidies these have to be clearly linked to the internal market. It is furthermore important that there is a contact point for Member States, companies and EU social partners to channel important information to the Commission. For Renew Europe, an early review is key to ensure the effectiveness of current thresholds and scope.

Catharina Rinzema (Netherlands, VVD), Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on the file, declared: "Today, I am asking for new rules to ensure fair competition. In my view, the same rules should apply to everybody on the internal market. I cannot justify why companies that receive money from a foreign government can create unfair situations on our market. This is an unacceptable situation that we want to change. We will work on a real level-playing field."