ARTICLE : COOPERATION - NATIONAL AUTHORITIES - EUROPEAN COMPETITION NETWORK - PROCEDURAL RULES - PROCEDURAL SYSTEMS - DEFENCE - OPACITY - COMMITMENTS - EC COMMISSION - EUROPEAN COMPETITION NETWORK

Cooperation among national competition authorities within the European Competition Network

Now considered to be commonplace, cooperation between national authorities within the European competition network leads to numerous difficulties for undertakings. The first of these appear during investigations made by an NCA on behalf of another. The French example shows that the procedural rules have not necessarily been adapted to new problems arising from these coordinated investigations. The unsatisfactory joint between procedural systems leads to situations in which undertakings can be in difficulties, even finding it impossible to put forward their elements of defence. The second type of difficulty arises from the opacity that surrounds information exchanges between NCAs. This opacity shall often deprive undertakings of the possibility of obliging NCAs to observe commitments they have made, in particular, in the communication of the Commission on the European competition network.

1. The adoption of Regulation N° 1/2003 has undoubtedly encouraged the National Competition Authorities (“NCA”) to be more eager in their application of Community law. This eagerness has been fuelled by a number of factors. Article 3§1 of Regulation N° 1/2003 requires that the NCAs apply Community law, where the conditions for its application exist. An NCA would be in a difficult position with regard to its counterparts or the European Commission (the “Commission”) , which make up the European Competition Network (“ECN”), if it failed to comply with this obligation. 2. The intention underpinning the creation of the ECN was in fact to strengthen cooperation among the authorities responsible for the application of articles 81 and 82 EC. The ECN has now become a place to interact which is

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Author

  • Nest Avocats (Paris)

Quotation

Eric David, Cooperation among national competition authorities within the European Competition Network, December 2008, Concurrences Review N° 4-2008, Art. N° 22151, pp. 39-49

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