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Competence Allocation in the EU Competition Policy System as an Interest-Driven Process

Oliver Budzinski and Andt Christiansen

Journal of Public Policy, 2005, vol. 25, issue 3, 313-337

Abstract: This paper provides a positive analysis of the evolution of competence allocation within the EU Competition Policy System. In the EU, competition policy competences are ascribed both to the European level and to each Member State. In regard to securing a sound antitrust system, the allocation and delimitation of these competences plays a major role. Accordingly, competence allocation has been a major issue in the recent reforms of cartel policy enforcement and merger control. Instead of normatively analysing the characteristics of optimal competence allocation, we positively identify the self-interest of the interacting groups of agents – European Commission and Courts, national authorities, business associations –  as a major-driving force of the reform process. We show that, as a consequence, the interest-driven outcomes of this process are largely ineffective and deficient – even if evaluated against the background of the publicly announced reform goals. This stands in accordance with longer-term patterns in competence allocation evolution in the EU Competition Policy System.

Date: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cup:jnlpup:v:25:y:2005:i:03:p:313-337_00