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Policy-Making in the European Union

Policy-Making in the European Union (7th edn)

Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young
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date: 03 July 2022

p. 1416. Competition Policy

Defending the Economic Constitutionlocked

p. 1416. Competition Policy

Defending the Economic Constitutionlocked

  • Stephen Wilks


This chapter examines the European Union’s competition policy and how its effectiveness has steadily increased in terms of controlling restrictive practices, abuse of dominant position, mergers, state aid, and the liberalization of utilities. It considers how the central dominance of the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) in the European Commission has been perpetuated and how competition policy has become a supranational policy competence which can be regarded as an ‘economic constitution’ for Europe. The chapter also discusses the decentralization of antitrust enforcement to the national agencies and courts through the ‘Modernization Regulation’ of 2003, as well as a ‘turn to economics’ in which economic analysis has been substituted for legal tests to move towards an ‘effects-based’ (effect on competition) interpretation of the law.

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