European antitrust in 2025 will be a strangely familiar place even as a revolution of private enforcement changes the way regulators, industry, and the judiciary interact.
In order to envisage what the competition world will look like, it is necessary to make a number of assumptions:
1. Cartel detection by regulators will decline significantly as the deep well of industrial cartel behavior dating back to the 1970s dries up and the inherent contradictions exposed in the leniency program become more apparent.
2. Private enforcement and damages actions will succeed in establishing themselves as viable alternatives to regulator enforcement and punishment. This will not be a result of regulation but rather a market-led revolution.
3. Reform of the court system in Europe will have an enormous impact on the enforcement of antitrust rules in Europe and reduce the requirement for fundamental change to the way antitrust decisions are taken by the European Commission.