ARTICLES : COMPETITION LAW - ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY - UNITED STATES - EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS - NOTION OF CHOICE - ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITION

Freedom of choice : The emergence of a powerful concept in European competition law

The last thirty years have seen the progressive interpretation of competition law as being a mechanism meant to enhance economic efficiency in society. But, originating from the United States, that standard does no solve all difficulties arising from competitive interactions on markets. Furthermore, it does no appear to be accepted in all jurisdictions - which constitutes a problem at a time where rules are often assessed on their ability to conjure up a certain consensus among agencies and courts around the world. Among the initiatives currently emerging, we analyse in this paper the growing attention provided by the European institutions to the notion of "choice" in their jurisprudence on competition law - particularly the jurisprudence on Article 102 TFUE (abuse of dominant position).

1. Is Europe engaging on a path leading to the transformation of its competition policy ? 2. In the last years, the European Commission has adopted landmark decisions placing to the foreground a concept that had so far gained limited attention – the concept of choice, that is, the possibility, and the right, for customers, to choose freely the products/services best corresponding to their needs, and the economic partners they want to deal with. 3. That new approach has not been limited to decisions issued by that institution but has also been adopted by the European courts, i.e. the General Court and the Court of justice, which, within the Union, have the highest authority to interpret European law, including the rules of competition. 4. The consequence may be a radical

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Auteur

  • General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)

Citation

Paul Nihoul, Freedom of choice : The emergence of a powerful concept in European competition law, septembre 2012, Concurrences N° 3-2012, Art. N° 48103, pp. 55-70

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