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(English) EU Competition Policy . Turan Suleymanov
Среда Июнь 8th, 2016

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EU Competition Policy

The EU competition policy strongly affects EU citizens. Through the competition policy, the EU gets the power to rule on state aids, takeovers, cartels and etc.  Some scholars describe EU’s position in the competition policy as a body that:

  • Makes sure companies play fair;
  • Examines mergers;
  • Opens up markets to competition;
  • Monitors State aid;
  • And carries out international cooperation. [1]

In competition policy, European Union’s concern is to set the standards of conduct rather than gaining tangible goals. The EU competition policy has its origin from the Treaty of Rome in 1957, when the EU was given power to prevent and review activities believed to stop the competition between companies. In 1990s EU has become more active with the number of prosecutions on the breaches of the competition laws.  In 2004, EU was criticized for it unaccountability in the pursuit of breaches of competition law and so finally brought reform on its power.

European competition policy consists of five components that each relies on specific legal powers:

  • “A prohibition on agreements between firms that limit competition (Art. 81 TEC; ex Art. 85 EEC);
  • A prohibition on the abuse of a dominant position by one or more large firms (Art. 82, TEC; ex Art. 86 EEC);
  • The control of mergers which create a dominant position (Regulation No. 4064/89);
  • The control of aid given by a member states to a firm or category of firms (Arts. 87 and 88 TEC; ex Arts. 92 and 93 EEC); and
  • The liberalization of measures by member states to favour domestic utilities, and infrastructure industries (Art. 31 and 86 TEC; ex Arts. 37 and EEC.)”[2]

The Commission has power to investigate the breaches of competition law and intervention where it is needed. Directorate – General for Competition of the Commission runs the competition policy along with European Court of Justice. For example, if there is an abuse of market position by any dominant company or an agreement that fix market share or limit any kind of development, in this case, the Commission starts investigation.  Additionally, it should also be mentioned that the Commission has power for the intervention against the governments that attempt to support uncompetitive companies with the state-aids. If the Commission and The European Court of Justice detain breaches of competition law, then they prosecute companies that fail to reach the standard. It covers court cases as well as active investigations. The EU’s main sanction is to impose a fine on a company that does not comply.  One of the biggest fines for the breaches of competition law was imposed on Microsoft in 2001. It was claimed that Microsoft unfairly dominated the market. [3]

To conclude, competition policy has a special place in the matrix of the European policy, because it is motor of the EU’s essential mobilization principle. However, it is also one of the policy areas that still face radical challenges in respect of doctrine, administration and competitiveness. [4]

Turan Suleymanov (Turan Suleymanoglu)

Professor of Management

The International School of Economics


  1. A very informative topic. It would be quite interesting for me to make a research about having this policy in our country in particular and issues of its implementation

  2. i liked eu competition police

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