Oligopoles, collusion tacite et droit communautaire de la concurrence

Nicolas Petit

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50 years after the entry into force of the Treaty of Rome, Community competition law seems to have found the "parry" to conscious parallelisms of oligopolistic behaviour. By preventing the emergence of narrow oligopolies through the application of the ex ante system for controlling concentrations between companies, the European Commission is promoting a "structuralist" approach to tacit collusion, which is not contested in doctrine or in practice.

It is this structuralist paradigm that this study focuses on. After describing the genesis of the issue of tacit collusion control in economic theory and in EC competition law, the author argues that the merger control system does not provide a satisfactory legal response to the risks of tacit collusion in oligopolistic markets.

The study then examines whether the "behavioural" rules of the Treaty of Rome (Articles 81 and 82 TEC) can be used to correct tacit collusive phenomena in oligopoly. Based on a "dynamic" interpretation of these provisions, it finds promising avenues for action. In conclusion, the study outlines the contours of an institutional system of "behavioural" control of tacit collusion in oligopolies.