Business associations are up in arms against planned tightening of antitrust law
In response to the rapid price increases for diesel and petrol as a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine in March 2022, the federal government wants to tighten antitrust law. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) warns of a “massive” weakening of the business location.
WBusiness associations are up in arms against the tightening of antitrust law planned by the federal government. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) warned of a “massive” weakening of Germany as a business location, the German Trade Association (HDE) asserted “great constitutional and rule of law concerns”. The draft law, which goes back to the rapid price increases for diesel and petrol as a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine in March 2022, was discussed in the Bundestag on Friday in the first reading.
The federal government approved the draft in early April. The proposed reform of the Act Against Restraints of Competition (GWB) is intended to significantly expand the powers of the Federal Cartel Office: In future, the authority would no longer have to prove specific anti-competitive behavior by companies, but could take action if the market were disrupted. In addition, the hurdles for skimming off advantages under antitrust law are to be significantly lowered.
“The GWB amendment makes far-reaching and insufficiently limited interventions in entrepreneurial activity possible,” criticized HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth. Official arbitrariness threatens. “Then the investment climate suffers, which dampens the intensity of competition and allows companies to act more cautiously than is good for the market and the economy as a whole.”
“This is a drastic system change in competition policy, which will lead to considerable legal uncertainty and investment decisions against Germany,” warned BDI board member Iris Plöger. The digital industry sees it in a similar way: In the future, particularly innovative and data-driven business models could “be seen as disrupting established markets,” explained the head of the digital association BitkomBernhard Rohleder.