New Developments and Empirical Evidence
New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series
Edited by Michael Faure and Xinzhu Zhang
Chapter 9: The modernisation of the EU competition law regime: institutional design lessons for China?
The EU competition law regime has gone through an extensive modernization process that was initiated in the late 1990s and orchestrated primarily by the European Commission. This process has affected substantially the substantive as well as institutional and procedural dynamics of the EU competition law regime. From the institutional perspective the European Commission has emerged as a more prominent authority in the EU competition law regime post-modernisation, whereas the substantive effects of modernisation have been more diverse. Modernisation has raised some impediments to legitimacy and accountability in the EU competition law regime and has even been described as an ‘agency escape’: an attempt by an over-confident authority, the European Commission, to increase its own influence in the regime. Therefore, the modernisation of the EU competition law regime constitutes an interesting case from the perspective of institutional design in competition law and other regulatory regimes. This chapter takes a general and broad look at the experiences with modernisation from the perspective of institutional design. The analysis provided here does not lead to altogether novel lessons of institutional design; nevertheless, it confirms what has been argued in the literature of delegation with regard to the side effects of creating independent and powerful competition and regulatory authorities.
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