Antitrust: The USA are shifting towards the EU

The official withdrawal initiated by Ms Christine Varney, Head of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, on May 11, 2009 of the report of the Department of Justice on Section 2 of the Sherman Act has highlighted, among other recent elements, the fact that the new U.S. Antitrust Administration is tending toward the European Competition Policy. This doctrine had caused some divergences between the U.S. Antitrust Authorities and the European Commission, indirectly in the field of merger control (GE/Honeywell) and more directly so as regards abuses of dominant positions (Microsoft, Intel). The U.S. Antitrust Authorities had often harshly criticized the European Commission, and their criticisms had sometimes been echoed by economists and politicians in some Member States of the European Union that did not favour a strict enforcement of the rules of competition law. The new U.S. Antitrust Authorities have expressed their intention to cooperate even more closely with the European Commission. At the very moment when the U.S. is turning towards the European Union and looks upon it as a key reference in its strategic reorientation, the author of this editorial, who is a former European Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy, expresses his hope that, given the current economic crisis and its social impact, political pressure will not result, in the European Union, in a weakening of national as well as European Competition Policies.

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. The current crisis context leads to reconsider economic policies. Two main questions arise for each policy. Should it be reconsidered, and how? Should existing international coordination in this area be intensified? Competition policy is no exception. All over the world, debates are taking place among experts as well as at the political level and in public opinion. In Europe, the European Commission, under the impetus of Commissioner Neelie Kroes, as well as national competition authorities have taken clear positions on the need to keep the course of competition policy oriented in the interest of consumers, while showing a certain flexibility, well framed

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Mario Monti, Antitrust: The USA are shifting towards the EU, September 2009, Concurrences N° 3-2009, Art. N° 28149, pp. 1-2

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