Utility Regulation and Competition Policy

Utility Regulation and Competition Policy

Edited by Colin Robinson

In this book, the latest volume in the annual series published in association with the London Business School and the Institute of Economic Affairs, some of the main issues in UK and EU utility regulation and competition policy are discussed. Topics examined include the new electricity and gas trading markets, regulating the railways, introducing competition into water, telecoms and Ofcom, opening EU gas and electricity markets, the 1998 Competition Act, EU merger policy and a general review of privatisation and regulation in Britain. Essays by expert commentators are followed in each case by comments from the relevant regulator.

Chapter 9: Ten Years of European Merger Control – Paul Seabright, Chairman’s Comments – Derek Morris

Paul Seabright

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public finance, public sector economics


European Union merger control is ten years old this year. An infant 16 years in the gestation has grown to maturity in far less time. Such an anniversary inevitably invites an assessment, but it is not always obvious what questions one may reasonably ask. The birth of the infant was attended by considerable scepticism that it could cope with even the simplest practicalities of life: would the Commission’s resources prove adequate to the workload; would the European system really ensure speed, a one-stop shop and the legal certainty that the Commission’s procedures in other areas of competition policy had so conspicuously failed to provide? So it is tempting to confine my assessment to an expression of considerable admiration that the infant has survived at all (not to mention displaying a nimbleness and agility one might not have anticipated from an observation of its parenthood), while noting the various remaining areas of procedural contention regarding its future role in life.

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