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Competition as a Cornerstone of a Free Economic and Social Order

Dr. Ulf Böge
President of the Bundeskartellamt

From 25 - 27 March 2007 the Bundeskartellamt hosted the International Conference on Competition, which has been held every other year for the last 25 years and the European Competition Day, which has taken place biannually since 2000 and is hosted by the respective EU presidency. In order to make foreign guests, in particular, aware of Germany's federal structure, the conference, attended by approx. 380 participants and over 70 nations, was held for the first time in Munich and not at the seat of the Bundeskartellamt.

After the opening address the Lord Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude, gave a welcoming address, which was followed by speeches by the Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Erwin Huber, the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Michael Glos, the EU Commissioner for Competition, Ms Neelie Kroes, and the Chairwoman of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament, Ms Pervenche Berès. A speech by Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of Siemens AG, rounded off the "political start" of the conference in the morning session.

The underlying theme of the conference was "Competition as a Cornerstone of a Free Economic and Social Order". Competition experts from all over the world discussed diverse aspects of economic policy with representatives from industry, politics and the judiciary.

Conference guests included, among others, Member of the European Parliament, Dr Silvana Koch-Mehrin, the President of the German Federal Court of Justice, Prof Dr Günter Hirsch, the President of the EFTA Court, Prof Dr Karl Baudenbacher, the President of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, Ms Anne-José Paulsen, the President of the Senate of the Vienna Higher Regional Court, Dr Eckhard Hermann, the Chairman of the German Monopolies Commission, Prof Dr Jürgen Basedow, the CEO of SAP AG, Prof Dr Henning Kagermann and former Economics Minister, Otto Graf Lambsdorff.

The 70 competition authorities taking part in the conference represented the member states of the EU, the USA, represented by the Federal Trade Commission, Japan, Korea, Russia, countries from Africa, Latin and South America and, for the first time, the People's Republic of China.

In his opening speech President Böge questioned the political promotion of so-called "national champions" and described it as a drug which hindered productive competition, intrinsically squeezed out small and medium-sized companies and harmed consumers. In his speech Economics Minister Glos called to mind the Federal Republic of Germany's first Economics Minister, Ludwig Erhard, who had spoken out in favour of competition and the social market economy in order to free people from state nannyism and to give them the freedom to gain their own free scope of action and to act on their own responsibility.

The speeches by Federal Economics Minister Glos and Bundeskartellamt President Böge and the addresses and statements given by the other speakers and panellists can be found under the rubric "conference materials".

Conference invitation

©Bundeskartellamt 2007