Antitrust, refunds to consumers for 40 million euros in the last three years – Corriere.it

Antitrust, refunds to consumers for 40 million euros in the last three years - Corriere.it

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In the hours in which the president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, announces a further rise in interest rates, to cool the race of inflation, the Italian Antitrust has confirmed that some sectors of the economy, despite the effects of the high cost of living, «not only did they not suffer, but they have even benefited from the current economic situation». As in the case of the banking sector, where “the margins of the top ten Italian banks increased by 20% compared to 2021, reaching 29 billion euros”.

Dialogue between banks and customers

This was reported by the president of the Competition and Market Authority, Roberto Rustichelli, on the occasion of the annual report to the Senate. «The sharp increase in the rates applied to households and businesses for bank loans was not followed – observes Rustichelli – a corresponding increase in interest rates recognized to depositors». So much so that the Antitrust’s invitation is similar to that of the ECB itself: a dialogue between banks and customers is needed “which leads to greater remuneration of deposits and savings”. The Antitrust recalls that in addition to the banks, the energy sector has benefited from the generalized increases: the gross operating margin of the main operators in the country has grown by over 16 billion euros in the last year.

Interventions to protect competition

The report on the activity carried out by the Guarantor is an opportunity to highlight its benefits in favor of businesses and consumers. “The activity of protection of competition – Rustichelli specifies – is not aimed at reducing the physiological imperfections of the markets, but at ensuring that their functioning is not distorted by pathological behaviors of the companies which constitute precise violations of the law”. A clarification accompanied by the evidence that “the value of interventions to protect competition must be read in a medium-term perspective”. A value quantified by the OECD, which it estimates at one billion euros the benefits generated in the last year by the Antitrust interventions in favor of businesses and consumers. While the value rises to 5.5 billion considering the last four years.

Repayments for 40 million

In the report, Rustichelli is keen to say that the Guarantor has “continued to enhance and fully implement the power to accept catering commitments by companies”. A commitment that in three years has translated into 40 million euros of reimbursements by companies in favor of 737,000 consumers. The president of the Antitrust also claims the work carried out in assigning the legality rating, “a rewarding tool aimed at recognizing benefits to companies that operate in compliance with stringent standards of legality, encouraging ethical behavior within the company” . The balance in the last year highlights 8,794 interventions on the subject of legality rating, while there are over 11,000 companies holding the rating, (+12% on an annual basis). Among the recommendations of the report is the need to set up a European sovereign wealth fund under the umbrella of the EU. Rustichelli explains that recourse to national support measures is “ephemeral”, which is why “choral efforts are needed to acquire adequate tools”. In short, to favor the competitive game, a structural response to investment needs is needed through the establishment of a European sovereign wealth fund.

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