Monday, January 17

The president of the CNMC sees “with concern” the promotion of “national champions”

The president of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), Cani Fernández, said this Monday that she sees “with concern” the “growing” promotion of the so-called “national champions” because “everything that is muddying or distorting the free play of competition has clear drawbacks ”.

Asked about this matter and without citing specific sectors, Fernández pointed out that although “competition is not everything”, and more so in “very deep crisis situations” such as the current one, “any subsidy or aid that makes companies not Build your own competitive muscle in the long run is going to create distortion problems in the market.

“Let’s not push the limits of competition law” towards a “soft law in which everything fits”, he warned, During an online colloquium on “The contribution of the CNMC to the Spanish economy in times of crisis” organized by the Council General of Economists.

Asked about the great banking merger of the moment, Fernández stated that she has “no preconceived opinion” about the announced integration of Caixabank and Bankia, to which the body she has chaired since June will have to give its approval in the coming months .

It has limited itself to remembering that concentration operations “must be analyzed exclusively from the point of view of what happens to the competition.”

“If we identify potential competition problems, we will establish a dialogue with the notifying parties to find the best way to resolve it,” said Fernández, who has urged not to make the mistake of thinking that competition “weakens companies.” In his opinion, it is the opposite, it gives them “more muscle”, and that “in the financial sector is saying it all”.

The president of the “super-regulator” has also admitted her “concern” about the potential purchase of strategic companies by China, although this is an area that fits more within the framework of foreign investment regulations.

And, in terms of sanctions, it has been in favor of “giving more importance to the hearings”, that is, to the hearing of the companies affected by a sanctioning file, to improve the instruction of these procedures. Among the files to be resolved by the council of the agency, she has cited that of possible anti-competitive practices of large consulting firms.

Fernández, who has confirmed that one of the practices denounced in the mailbox set up during the state of alarm investigated by the agency is whether the bank has demanded to hire alarm systems from clients requesting ICO credits, has reiterated that one of the “ challenges ”that the CNMC must face is the treatment of public aid, which“ can lead to significant distortions between the different EU member states ”, or the defense mechanisms of companies in crisis.