Continuity and Change in EU Competition Policy

Assimakis Komninos, Feb 16, 2010

The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on December 1, 2009 has brought profound changes to the EU. The Treaty on European Union has been substantially amended, while the venerable Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) was entirely superseded by the new Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). There has been a wholesale change of names and acronyms that even touched upon the conservative world of the EU Courts: the well-known to competition specialists “Court of First Instance” or “CFI” has now become the “General Court.” Even more dramatically, the noun and adjective “Community” is rendered obsolete and this covers competition law, too, so let us forget about “EC competition law” or “Community competition rules” and get used to “EU competition.” The numbering of the competition provisions has also changed: Articles 81 and 82 TEC are now Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.

At the same time, at the European Commission level, a Commissioner goes, Neelie Kroes, and a new Commissioner comes, Joaquín Almunia. Change of persons at the Director-General’s post, too: Philip Lowe is replaced by Alexander Italianer.

The interesting question is whether this change of persons, numbers, adjectives, and nouns extends also to the substance of EU competition law and policy, as formulated and applied by the European Commission and the EU Courts. In this short article, we argue that “EU competition”…

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