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INTERNATIONAL: 2006 BELGIAN COMPETITION REFORM - MERGER CONTROL - ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES - COMPETITION COUNCIL - PUNITIVE POWERS - SECTOR SPECIFIC REGULATORS
A little more than to years following its inception, this article seeks to assess whether the new Belgian competition law of 2006 has delivered its purported ambitions. We come to the conclusion that, on three core aspects, the reform has not (yet?) reached its ambitious goals. First, whilst the elevation of the merger control thresholds has certainly freed-up significant administrative resources, most of these resources were subsequently reallocated to the examination of prescribed cases. Second, whilst the Competition Council enjoys unprecedented punitive powers under the new law, it has so far failed to implement them and, on the contrary, exhibits a noticeable reluctance to inflict fines for anticompetitive practices. Third, a number of decisions demonstrate that the new legislation has not eradicated conflicts between the Competition Council and sector specific regulators.
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