A Framework for European Competition Law
This book asks whether the current push to increase uniformity in substantive competition policy and enforcement in Europe (particularly EU competition law (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and the merger rules), but also Member State laws), as well as in relation to the procedural rules and institutional structures (particularly the independence of competition authorities - the benefits of which are questioned both theoretically and empirically), is desirable. Contrary to the over-whelming view of academics, practitioners and regulators in this area, the book argues that uniformity is not enough and examines ways of achieving a better mix of uniformity and diversity here (the EU's motto is 'United in Diversity'). Uniformity has many benefits; yet, the advantages of diversity are also legion, including allowing for diverse national policy preferences; enabling experimentation and innovation; and better uncovering national preferences. A balance between uniformity and diversity is advocated. To achieve this better balance, the book offers a new framework for European competition law, Co-ordinated Diversity. Finally, this book asks whether Co-ordinated Diversity fits within the current legal order in the European Union (EU), as well as the EU constitutional settlement more generally, and suggests some ways that it might be made compatible with this order relatively easily. The book's impact could be significant, changing the results in individual cases; the way cases are argued and what information is relevant. More importantly, it will fundamentally alter the way states and competition authorities interact; allowing space for disagreement and uncertainty. This will improve the quality and transparency of discussions. It should also increase the legitimacy of competition enforcement in Europe (rebalancing towards the Member States); and improve the amount and quality of competition research. More generally, by embracing the differences between the Member States, the EU could go some way to counter the charge of being democratically deficit. The framework that is suggested, generates a new way of seeing the EU, one that better blends difference, when this is demanded, with uniformity and its benefits, as necessary. A timely and ambitious work, this book will be read with interest by all competition scholars.
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