The Antitrust Revolution in Europe

The Antitrust Revolution in Europe

Exploring the European Commission’s Cartel Policy

Lee McGowan

This insightful and original book considers the evolution, aims and developments of EU antitrust policy, and focuses on the way in which the European Commission has sought to combat cartels.

Chapter 6: European Cartel Policy: Deployment and Combat, 1963–1998

Lee McGowan

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, european law, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, regulation and governance


With the institutional and administrative machinery in place to deal with restrictive practices (and also monopolies) the Commission found itself embarking on a radical experiment in supranational governance, and one which attracted the first generation of European integration researchers (Haas, 1958; Lindberg, 1963). Many questions were posed at this time about how regional integration would both function and develop and how it could be explained in theoretical terms. Haas devised his theory of neo-functionalism as an attempt to explain and account for the political integration process which emerged in its unique form in Western Europe in the 1950s. For Haas regional integration was the process of ‘how and why states cease to be wholly sovereign, how and why they voluntarily mingle, merge and mix with their neighbours so as to lose the factual attributes of sovereignty while acquiring new techniques for resolving conflict themselves’ (Haas, 1970: 610). For neo-functionalists the available evidence as manifest in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and the EURATOM treaties seemed to suggest that the nation state was becoming redundant as an authoritative source of governance. In this European laboratory powers and sovereignty were being transfered from the nation states to a set of new supranational institutions. Supranationalism appeared to offer a new and definitive answer to resolving conflict through the pooling of sovereignty and the beginnings of a new Europe, but could a model explain what was happening in such advanced countries and what were the dynamics pushing...

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