Harmonisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement, Jurgita MALINAUSKAITE

Jurgita Malinauskaite

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The book Harmonisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement, written by Jurgita Malinauskaite, provides a comparative analysis of EU competition law enforcement. The book stands out in this field of study, which is already very much exploited, by the Member States carefully selected and honoured by the author, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The common denominator of these states is the "past shadow of socialism" and they are grouped in the book under the family of Central and Eastern European Countries (hereafter CEECs). The book is divided into seven chapters, thematically corresponding to three parts, the first chapter being reserved for a brief introduction.

The first part deals with the plethora of comparative studies (Chapter 2) and their application in the decision-making process of the European Union (hereafter EU), thus highlighting the conceptual framework for EU harmonisation (Chapter 3). After a concise outline of the principles and techniques governing comparative studies, Jurgita Malinauskaite sets out the three levels of comparison to be found in subsequent developments: hierarchical comparison, historical comparison and ultimately the contextualisation of EU harmonisation as a process. To this end, the author exploits the concept of functional equivalence - a comparison tool that has proven itself time and again in EU studies - and takes a new look by adding the historical, socio-cultural, political and economic context. In Chapter 3, the author stresses the importance of having an acute understanding of the political process and the dynamics of the legal culture, in particular for procedural rules, which are the product of this culture. In addition, harmonisation, as an ongoing process, is analysed at the horizontal (i.e. harmonisation at the national level) and vertical (i.e. the EU and its decision-making bodies) levels, while highlighting these two levels in order to show the existing interactions in the image of the preliminary ruling procedure.

In a second part (Chapter 4), the study focuses on the different attempts in the European Union to harmonise certain aspects of public and private enforcement. Four major milestones in the development of EU competition law are rigorously and didactically revealed: Regulation (EEC) No 17/62, Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, the development of private enforcement crowned by Directive 2014/104/EU, and finally the return to public enforcement with the ECN+ Directive.

The third and last part (chapters 5, 6 and 7) is dedicated to the CEECs and their efforts to adapt their national rules to meet European requirements. Chapter 5 sets out the institutional framework of the national competition authorities in the CEECs, which have had the difficult task of making the transition from a socialist to a market economy. The author distinguishes between small and large Central and Eastern European countries in order to provide a differentiated analysis of human and financial resource policies and of the balance sought between the independence and accountability of NCAs. Chapter 6, on harmonization of public enforcement, provides an interesting overview of the - sometimes widely divergent - investigative and decision-making powers of the NCAs of the CEECs. The author argues that commitment decisions should be used sparingly, as extensive use of this procedure would hamper the development of the law and the "official experience" of the CEECs. Finally, private enforcement is developed in Chapter 7. The analysis of the transposition of Directive 2014/104/EU shows that the CEECs, in addition to the difficulties encountered on the provisions on the production of evidence and the categories of documents, have refrained from extending the application of European standards to procedures based on national law.

This book, with its focus on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, proves to be a rare pearl. In addition to the language skills required to shed such light, the author’s remarkable comparative work and the pedagogical effort, particularly through the inclusion of summary tables, should be highlighted.

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  • University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne


Agnès Mouterde, Harmonisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement, Jurgita MALINAUSKAITE, February 2021, Concurrences N° 1-2021, Art. N° 98945, p. 271

Publisher Springer

Date 26 November 2020

Number of pages 288

Visites 26

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