The Evolution of European Competition Law
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The Evolution of European Competition Law

Whose Regulation, Which Competition?

  • ASCOLA Competition Law series

Edited by Hanns Ullrich

With contributions from leading scholars from all over Europe and the US, this book covers the major areas of substantive competition law from an evolutionary perspective. The leitmotiv of the book has been to assess the dividing line between safeguarding and regulating competition.
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Comments

Kurt Stockmann and Fabiana Di Porto

Extract

Comment Kurt Stockmann* 1 INTRODUCTION I agree with most of what Professor Kirchner has said on the subject. It is true, amongst other things, with regard to his view that sector-specific regulation in the European Union is meant not only to raise the level of general welfare and to protect consumers, but also to open up national markets and thereby fulfill an integrative function. As an instrument for achieving market integration, regulation focuses on ex ante access rules, allowing competitors from other Member States to penetrate a national market which has been controlled by national monopolies. In this sense, it may appear desirable, as Professor Kirchner states, to harmonize sector-specific regulation in Member States in such a way that national markets are opened up by a regulatory approach which need not be identical in all Member States, but highly harmonized. Although uniform regulation in the European Union could have an even stronger integrative effect, such a concept would, I think, once again in agreement with Professor Kirchner, probably conflict with country-specific features and foreclose opportunities to learn from experience with different regulatory approaches. In analyzing the issues involved in sector-specific regulation, I share Professor Kirchner’s preference for a dynamic approach. One of his conclusions, which I find particularly important and to which I fully subscribe, is that the basis for a first choice between sector-specific regulation and the application of general competition law should be the existence of significant market power in a given market. In the absence of such...

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