This hearing will close the investigation of an opinion, which the Autorité will adopt shortly, on the economic concentration of markets in Corsica and its impact on competition.
The Autorité de la concurrence has been working for several months to draft an opinion on the economic situation in Corsica, specifically on the functioning of sectors considered likely to raise competition concerns due to their high degree of economic concentration: fuel distribution, food distribution by supermarkets, maritime transport between Corsica and the continent, and waste management.
As announced at the start of the year, this opinion is one of the Autorité’s priorities for 2020 (press release of 9 January 2020).
An investigation lasting several months
The investigation for this opinion led to a visit to Corsica from 9 to 12 December 2019 by a delegation of the Autorité’s case officers, led by the Vice-President, Fabienne Siredey-Garnier, and the General Rapporteur, Stanislas Martin, to hear from local elected representatives, heads of companies and public institutions, associations, and employers’ and employees’ unions (social partners), as well as representatives of the prefecture and the devolved services of the State. The discussions with these various contacts focused in particular on the functioning of competition in these four key sectors for the island’s economy.
Having gathered and analysed a large amount of information, the Autorité’s investigation services continued their work, carrying out further investigations necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic to assess its economic consequences for Corsica’s production network.
The meeting, which will bring the investigation to a close, will enable Board members to hear from local stakeholders before issuing recommendations for the public authorities
The Autorité is currently preparing for an important step: as required by law, its Board must now hold a hearing with a certain number of stakeholders before deliberating and issuing its opinion (Article L. 463-7 of the French Commercial Code (Code de commerce)).
Having analysed the different factors that could explain the degree of concentration of Corsica’s local economic fabric, this opinion will suggest to the national and local public authorities suitable responses in terms of competition regulation, in order to address the difficulties observed at present and effectively prevent the risks to competition that the island’s economy may face in future.
Because everyone who will be heard at the meeting needs to focus as a priority on the recovery of activity during the tourist season, the Autorité has decided to hold the hearing at the end of September 2020.
Since the vast majority of the stakeholders are established in Corsica, the Autorité has decided that, if the health situation allows, the hearing will be held in Corsica on 29 and 30 September.
This is a first: never before has the Board met outside Paris, where the Autorité is based. The Autorité de la concurrence has not ruled out the relocation of other hearings where, as in the present case, circumstances make this appropriate.
Publication of the opinion is expected in October 2020.