Chapter 3: Judicial dialogues and uniformity in the multi-level application of EU competition law
This chapter attempts a review regarding enforcement of EU competition law by national courts over the ten years of application of Regulation 1/2003. It seeks to determine whether the mechanisms set up by the Regulation in order to ensure uniformity in judicial enforcement of EU competition law were actually used by national courts, and possibly to ascertain whether they had a real impact in achieving the desired unity of application of antitrust law. The chapter argues that important divergences remain in the judicial enforcement of competition law, largely due to the wide margin of discretion at times conferred on national courts, and due to the differences of national procedural rules. The chapter also briefly considers some of the recent measures and proposals adopted by the Commission for the purpose of harmonizing the legislation of the Member States by which national institutions enforce EU law. When in 1999 the Commission proposed, in its White Paper on the modernization of competition law,to abolish the centralized system for enforcing the Community’s antitrust rules, it was self-evident that the new approach bore the risk of undermining the uniform application of competition law. After all, a centralized mechanism for the enforcement of competition law based fundamentally on the primary role of the Commission, which had applied for nearly 40 years, was undoubtedly the most effective way to attain uniformity.
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