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Mario Todino, Feb 25, 2015
The purpose of this article is to discuss the objectives that the newly appointed EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager should prioritize. We first argue that the new Commissioner will have to face some significant challenges, especially: (i) a relatively novel one, that is how to resist interference and navigate through the multilayered Commission devised by the newly appointed President, Mr. Juncker; and (ii) a usual one, namely how to stay consistent with the tradition of a vigorous enforcement action driven by a competent and efficient Directorate General, while avoiding being “captured” by the DG.
We then argue that a couple of relatively simple reforms may significantly improve the Commission’s current enforcement model without causing much disruption, specifically (i) introducing (non-mandatory) deadlines with a view to shortening the average duration of the antitrust investigations and (ii) strengthening the role of the Hearing Officer to oversee not only procedural issues, but also the substance of DG Comp investigations.