INTERNATIONAL: 2006 BELGIAN COMPETITION REFORM - MERGER CONTROL - ADMINISTRATIVE RESOURCES - COMPETITION COUNCIL - PUNITIVE POWERS - SECTOR SPECIFIC REGULATORS

Belgium: Two years of competition reform - An interim report

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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*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. Remember, it was October 2006. In response to the shenanigans of national and international institutions, the Belgian legislator decided to tackle once and for all the structural shortcomings of the competition protection system by adopting a new law on the protection of economic competition ("LPCE"). The limitations of the old legislation were, admittedly, glaring. In the field of the fight against restrictive practices alone, the Belgian Competition Council ("the Council") had, between 1993 and 2005, issued only 58 decisions, including only one decision finding an infringement and imposing a penalty. 2. The 2006 law therefore had the ambition to

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Authors

  • Liège University (Liège)
  • European University Institute (Florence)

Quotation

Alexandre Defossez, Nicolas Petit, Belgium: Two years of competition reform - An interim report, May 2009, Concurrences N° 2-2009, Art. N° 25826, pp. 222-229

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