EU Competition Law & Policy

Free and undistorted competition is a key element of an open market economy. It stimulates economic performance and offers consumers a broader choice of better-quality products and services and at more competitive prices. European Union competition policy ensures that competition is not distorted in the internal market by ensuring that similar rules apply to all the companies operating within in it. Title VII, chapter 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union lays down the basis for the Community rules on competition. Both the European Commission and national competition authorities have wide powers to make sure businesses and governments stick to EU rules on competition (Articles 101-109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). But in applying these rules, they must take account of the interests of innovation, unified standards, or small business development. The overriding considerations are whether consumers will benefit or other businesses be harmed. The Commission's extensive powers to investigate and halt violations of EU competition rules are subject to judicial review by the European Court of Justice. The same applies to national competition authorities: their decisions are subject to judicial review by national courts. Companies and Member States' governments regularly lodge and succeed in appeals against Competition Authorities’ decisions. A Research Group examines all issues relating to EU Competition Law and Policy with particular focus on the Energy, Transport and Telecommunications sectors:

  • Nature and rationale of EU Competition Law and Policy
  • The importance of economic analysis in competition cases
  • Restrictive practices, prohibited conduct, agreements, decisions, concerted practices, horizontal and vertical restraints
  • Abuse of a dominant position, collective dominance and exclusive rights
  • Enforcement and the role of the Commission and Courts
  • Modernisation and reform of EU competition law
  • Latest developments on merger control
  • State Aids
  • Competition rules in the EU and US: need for harmonisation?
  • Application of competition rules in the Energy sector
  • Competition vs. Security of Energy Supply in Europe