Independence of competition authorities: The example of the EU and its Member States

At the end of 2018, the European Parliament and Council adopted Directive (EU) 2019/1, often referred to as the “ECN+ Directive,” which, among other things, contains provisions ensuring the independence of the competition authorities of the EU Member States (national competition authorities or NCAs), which are, together with the European Commission, responsible for the enforcement of the EU antitrust rules laid down in Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. In early 2019, the European Commission visibly showed its own independence by prohibiting Siemens’ takeover of Alstom’s rail transport business, a proposed merger publicly backed by the German and French governments. This paper gives an overview of the independence guarantees in EU law and discusses more in general the notion of independence of competition authorities and its rationale.

I. The enforcement of EU competition law 1. EU competition law refers here to the prohibition of cartels and other restrictive agreements and the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position contained in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), [1] as well as merger control under the EU Merger Regulation. [2] 2. Under Regulation 1/2003, [3] which entered into application on 1 May 2004, both the European Commission and the competition authorities of the EU Member States (national competition authorities or NCAs), forming together the European Competition Network (ECN), pursue infringements of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. [4] 3. In the words of the Joint Statement of the EU Council and the European Commission on the functioning of the network of

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers

Already Subscribed? Sign-in

Access to this article is restricted to subscribers.

Read one article for free

Sign-up to read this article for free and discover our services.