Paul Lachine

Konterrevolution in der Kartellpolitik?

BARCELONA: Die aktuelle globale Finanzkrise hat den gewaltigen Druck deutlich gemacht, unter dem die Wettbewerbspolitik auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks steht. Letztere hat vor allem aufgrund der verzerrenden Hilfsmaßnahmen zugunsten der Finanzmittler sowie der Aussetzung der Fusionsregeln zur Rettung von Finanzinstituten einen Rückschlag erlitten. Tatsächlich hat die Bereitstellung von Kapital und anderen Subventionen durch den Staat die Wettbewerbsbedingungen verzerrt, was letztlich dazu führte, dass schwächere Institute nun eine deutlich bessere Kapitalausstattung haben als gesündere.

Dies ist von entscheidender Bedeutung in einem Sektor wie dem Bankwesen, wo der Eindruck der Solidität eines Instituts für seine Konkurrenzfähigkeit grundlegend ist. So übernahm etwa Lloyds TSB die in Schwierigkeiten geratene HBOS, Großbritanniens größte Hypothekenbank, obwohl die Fusion von der britischen Kartellbehörde, dem Office of Fair Trading, abgelehnt worden war. 2001 war Lloyds TSB eine Übernahme der Bank Abbey National noch verwehrt worden. In den USA gab es mit den erzwungenen Übernahmen von Bear Stearns durch JP Morgan und von Merrill Lynch durch die Bank of America eine Konsolidierung im Investmentbanking. Das Ergebnis ist, dass es kaum noch einen Wettbewerb zwischen den verbliebenen Akteuren gibt.

Die Wettbewerbspolitik ist darauf eingestellt, mit individuellen Krisen fertig zu werden, doch diese systemische Krise hat ihr beinahe das Rückgrat gebrochen. Und nicht nur im Bankensektor, sondern auch in anderen Branchen – in vorderster Reihe sind hier die Automobilhersteller zu nennen – halten riesige Subventionen die unwirtschaftlich arbeitenden Platzhirsche am Leben und hemmen das Wachstum effizienter Firmen oder verhindern, was vielleicht noch schlimmer ist, den Markteintritt neuer. In der Europäischen Union ist – der Fall Opel zeigt es – zwischen den nationalen Regierungen inzwischen ein Subventionswettlauf im Gange, um die Kosten der Kapazitätsanpassungen in der Automobilindustrie auf die Nachbarn abzuwälzen.

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