The equality and social fairness objectives in EU competition law: The European school of thought

The protection of free competition based on equality is the most important social principle in a social market economy. Post-Lisbon, EU competition law is supposed to implement the social market economy concept as defined in Article 3 TEU. The European School of thought is the economic frame that applies this concept to real world cases. One aspect in this school of thought relates to the interpretation of the competition related Treaty articles. Another one deals about the fair and equal distribution of wealth gains between the market actors. By guaranteeing equal conditions, the European framework assures free and fair play.

What makes a social market economy social? The answer is the equality principle in EU competition law I. Introduction 1. The Treaty of Lisbon [1] demands that the European Union is based on a social market system. Article 3 TEU states that alongside the establishment of an internal market, the European Union shall work for the sustainable development of a Europe built inter alia on a highly competitive social market economy. This means that when applying EU competition law, the social market economy objective is going to supplement—or in the long run even to replace—the internal market objective used so far. This shift has practical consequences with respect to the application of the economic analysis in EU competition law. 2. In general, a market system is an effective instrument to

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