Economics and Policies of an Enlarged Europe

Economics and Policies of an Enlarged Europe

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava have written a very rigorous text in an accessible and jargon-free style, ensuring easy acquisition of invaluable insights into the European economic set-up and the possible evolution of EU policies, including an update on the reform of the Growth and Stability Pact and of the 2007–13 Financial Perspectives.

Chapter 9: Competition Policy

Carlo Altomonte and Mario Nava

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy


* INTRODUCTION In Chapters 1 to 5 we saw how the European legislators set up the Customs Union, the Single Market and its latest developments (EMU and the Lisbon agenda). In earlier chapters we also saw how and to what extent the EU tries to take advantage of the benefits deriving from such a continuing process of economic integration, in order to pursue its joint goals of growth, stability and cohesion via a set of specific policies. However, from the very foundation of the Union, the EU legislators also recognised that the entire scope of integration could have been frustrated by business practices aiming at keeping markets partitioned and not exposed to competition forces. In particular, they recognised that the risk would have been possibly higher when not only trade, but also factors of production, through the process of completion of the internal market, started to be integrated across borders, significantly increasing the range of economic interests and sectors at stake. The same outcome could also have been generated as a consequence of unfair practices of member states, eventually led by the pressures of organised interest groups to support ‘national’ players.1 In brief, without an appropriate policy regulating competition on the European market, the entire process of economic integration would have been pointless. To this extent, as early as 1957 the Treaty of Rome (TEC, art. 3, para. 1g) stated among the objectives of the Union the setting up of ‘a system ensuring that competition in the internal...

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