20th Mar 2018

Sarkozy to cut free markets clause from EU treaty

As a surprise by-side move in the debate on revising the EU constitution, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he has secured the scrapping of a crucial competition clause from the bloc's new treaty, with experts concerned it could undermine Brussels' powers against protectionism and monopolies.

Speaking to journalists after the first session of the European summit on Thursday (21 June), Mr Sarkozy said that his demand to drop a reference to "free and undistorted" competition from the list of the union's objectives received a positive answer from Germany's Angela Merkel.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The French president says he got the green light from Merkel on scrapping the clause (Photo: © Council of the European Union, 2000-2005)

"There was some play on that, but today's presidency document satisfies our demand," he said, according to Reuters.

The competition clause had been mentioned in the European treaties since the very first founding document was signed in 1957. Officials and experts now fear its loss could weaken the commission's role as an antitrust watchdog and a controller of "national champions."

The French delegation also tried to change the wording of the goals of the European monetary union, by highlighting an objective on securing economic growth while dropping a reference to price stability.

The move corresponds with Paris' long-standing criticism of the European Central Bank policy, which has been raising interest rates to curb inflation while keeping the euro strong compared to the US dollar, harming French exporters.

EU diplomats suggested the fiscal change is likely to meet strong opposition from Berlin and other member states, according to the Financial Times.

In another potential change in economic policies, EU leaders appear ready to back calls led by the Netherlands to strengthen the protection of public services from single market liberalisation pressures.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

EU insists on US tariffs exemption

Europe is "an ally, not a threat", the EU Commission says - as the US is poised to impose duties in steel and aluminium. Common action on Chinese steel overcapacity could help diffuse the crisis.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?