FORWORD: US ANTITRUST POLICY - CHRISTINE VARNEY - SECTION 2 SHERMAN ACT - EUROPEAN COMPETITION POLICY - MERGER CONTROL -ECONOMISTS - COOPERATION - STRATEGIC REORIENTATION

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.

Le contexte de crise actuel conduit à reconsidérer les politiques économiques. Deux grandes questions se posent, pour chaque politique. Doit-on la revoir, et comment ? Doit-on intensifier la coordination internationale existante dans le domaine ? La politique de concurrence ne fait pas exception. Partout dans le monde, des débats sont en cours parmi les experts ainsi qu'au niveau politique et dans l'opinion publique. En Europe, la Commission européenne, sous l'impulsion du Commissaire Neelie Kroes, ainsi que les autorités nationales de concurrence ont pris des positions claires sur la nécessité de garder le cap d'une politique de concurrence orientée dans l'intérêt des consommateurs, tout en faisant preuve d'une certaine flexibilité, bien encadrée et délimitée, pour prendre en compte la crise

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  • Italian Senate

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

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