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Covid-19 and competition policy : A Swiss perspective

The interest of this brief and, to some extent, temporary study is to show that authorities addressing the consequences of the current COVID-19 crisis are reacting on a case-by-case basis and looking for the solution that seems the most appropriate at the precise moment they take their decision, with the information available at that time. With respect to competition policy, the difficulty lies in finding the right balance between mitigating the negative economic impact of the pandemic and maintaining the requirements of competition while guaranteeing legal certainty.

In Switzerland, supporting the economy has become one of the central components of political action, perhaps as important as health policy. Subsidization through cheap loans guaranteed by the public authorities has seemed less constraining on the Swiss liberal economy doctrine than giving free aid to enterprises. This was accompanied by waiving some procedures and form requirements as well as easing several financial ratios. However, while national regulations grant enough flexibility to implement these measures, Switzerland must carefully study the legal framework at the international level, especially because of its numerous bilateral agreements with the European Union. Finally, the authorities should pay special attention to issues pertaining to equality of treatment among competitors.

In: Concurrences, 2020, n° 2, p. 27-32.