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Independence, Interdependence and Legitimacy: The EU Commission, National Competition Authorities, and the European Competition Network

Giorgio Monti, EUI Department of Law Research Paper No. 2014/01, 2014

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It is nearly ten years that the EU’s antitrust enforcement has been decentralised by Regulation 1/2003. This paper is a small contribution taking stock of how this process has fared. After setting out a position on the discussion of two oft used benchmarks for assessing competition agencies (independence and legitimacy), we turn to evaluate the Commission and national competition authorities. While the Commission is now a well established enforcer, a number of channels serve to oversee national competition authorities: measures adopted in response to the economic crisis allow the Commission to recommend modifications to competition law statutes; the case law of the ECJ, in particular by reference to the principle of effectiveness, reduces the scope for national policy choices; and the European Competition Network appears focused on securing convergent outcomes and procedures. Perhaps the ultimate paradox of these centralising tendencies is how local national antitrust enforcement has remained.

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