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Competition, Fundamental Rights and Power in the Digital Age

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The expansion of European regulation in the field of AI is part of a broader trend which is not connected to the mere booming and spread of artificial intelligence applications. Since the launch of the Digital Single Market Strategy in 2015, the European Union has changed its approach moving from a framework mainly dominated by a narrative of digital liberalism to a framework of digital constitutionalism characterised by a larger attention on the protection of rights and freedoms, or what we know today in the European AI Act as European values.

These values, primarily focused on the respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, democracy and the rule of law and Union fundamental rights, as ensured in Article 2 TUE and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, have been progressively permeating the legal discourse and narrative around the soul of antitrust and competition regulation. In the absence of any immediate benchmark to set out as the main objective of EU competition law, the narrative around competition regulation’s purpose is being constantly tested out by the European Commission as somewhat more expansive and all-encompassing than what it initially was.

To explore this broad topic further, we call for the submission of blog posts (maximum 2000 words) for our next symposium termed ‘Competition, Fundamental Rights and Power in the Digital Age’. The topics to be addressed via the submissions can touch upon (but not limited to) the following topics:

1.The interaction of digital constitutionalism at large with the current configuration of competition law and its system of enforcement.

2.The shift of the objectives of competition law with regards to the consumer welfare standard and its broader interpretation.

3.The transformation of competition policy as stemming from the challenges posed by Big Tech via the exertion of market power, notably via the Digital Markets Act

4.The institutional aspects of competition authorities and their interplay with the tenets of legitimacy and democratic participation.

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