Pursuing regulatory objectives under competition law

While the Commission has stood its ground against political pressure to relax enforcement for the purpose of grooming European champions, that does not mean only economic welfare arguments have been accepted under competition law. Rather, over the years a pattern has emerged whereby, in the absence of satisfactory single market regulation, the Commission has occasionally resorted to competition law in order to secure single market objectives. This has allowed for the development of an unexpected close interaction between competition law and single market regulation occasionally taking the form of pollution rather than influence.

1. The idea of grooming industrial development in the EU, through a modernised EU industrial policy, has recently regained prominence, partly as fallout from what some consider a wrongful blocking of the merger in 2019 between key German and French industrial players Siemens and Alstom. It seems that, embedded in this revised policy is that competition law should take guidance from a broader spectrum of considerations partly formulated on a political level. While the idea of an EU industrial policy has never tainted EU competition law, the matter differs when it comes to pursuing regulatory objectives, formulated on a larger and more political level. Across the years, competition law has often served in a regulatory capacity making it too simplistic to advance the view that

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Christian Bergqvist, Pursuing regulatory objectives under competition law, May 2020, Concurrences N° 2-2020, Art. N° 93968,

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