Competition Policy and EU Governance
This paper focuses on competition policy in the European Union from an economic, micro-governance point of view. It analyses recent developments in economic governance in the field of the common competition policy, which had for a long time been the exclusive competence of the European Commission (Community method), notably the nature and governance implications of recent developments associated with single market integration, the 5th EU enlargement, and the workload backlog of the Commission. The common competition policy has been subject to various changes against the background of increasing market integration and the expansion of the single market (for instance, the European merger regulation and the liberalisation of network industries, regulated at the national level), most recently by the new institutional framework (EC regulation 1/2003 by the EU Council) which entered into force on the day of the EU’s fifth enlargement on 1 May 2004 and which implies the direct and parallel application of EU anti-trust laws by national competition authorities (NCA).These developments in terms of the economic governance of competition policy render it important to analyse the competences of NCAs with respect to the European Commission but also in regard to each other and to sectoral national regulators. The paper concludes that although the single market and competition policy had looked profoundly Europeanised in the Community sphere, single market integration has not led to parallel centralisation at the Community level but to decentralisation and that challenges as to legal uncertainty and consistency of application remain to be resolved.
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