Brussels, 18 October 2010
DG Competition publishes the results of Stakeholder Survey
DG Competition has published the results of the first comprehensive survey of stakeholders about their views on DG Competition's actions. The survey was carried out in two parts by two independent market research organisations across professional stakeholders and citizens of all EU Member States. The qualitative study highlighted significant praise for the effectiveness of DG Competition's work and the integrity of its staff. The survey also provided several areas of constructive criticism, together with suggestions for improvement which are now being addressed. DG Competition will use the results of this survey as an input into its antitrust best practices discussions, as well as a basis for internal discussions and for follow up consultations with stakeholders on improving cooperation.
Qualitative professional stakeholder study
Professional stakeholders acknowledge DG Competition's integrity and analytical ability. They consider case teams professional, committed and open to discussion. There was a broad consensus about an improvement in analytical capability since the establishment of the Chief Economist Team in 2003. Most respondents considered DG Competitions' current sectoral priorities as broadly appropriate and its enforcement activities generally beneficial for competitiveness on the markets.
Respondents requested more structured and focussed communication with parties during all phases of investigations. In order to improve the economic impact of cases, professional stakeholders called for faster case handling especially for antitrust cases. However stakeholders showed sympathy towards the constraints DG Competition is faced with, for example, the trade-off between time and quality of actions in complex cases and the need for – sometimes burdening - information requests during investigations; respondents did suggest that DG Competition took steps to ease this burden.
While some considered the present levels of fines as too high, the majority of the respondents agreed with the fines' being deterrent. Most respondents suggested also alternative deterrents to fines, but with no consensus as to what these should be and in particular no consensus on the benefit of criminal sanctions.
Most stakeholders were also positive about DG Competition's external communication.
The qualitative study based on in-depth interviews was carried out early 2010 by TNS qual+ among lawyers, companies, economic consultants, business and consumer associations, national competition authorities as well as national Member States' ministries who have directly contributed to the work of DG Competition in recent years.
Quantitative citizen survey
EU citizens largely share the objectives and values of competition policy. From DG Competition's present priority sectors, citizen identified energy with 44%, the pharmaceutical products with 25% and telecommunication with 21% as those main sectors where they perceive competition problems. The major indication for the lack of competition was that prices were felt to be too high.
The survey revealed interesting differences across the Member States in the level of existing knowledge and general interest towards competition policy. The survey also gives detailed information about the perceptions across socio-economic groups. This information as well as feedback from citizens about what competition policy topics they prefer to be further informed, will allow DG Competition – together with the EU Member States' national competition authorities – a better targeted communication policy.
The citizens' survey was carried out by phone by Gallup Hungary in November 2009 among citizens in all EU Member States.
The results of the two surveys are available at:
DG Competition Website:
DG Communication Website: