Legal and Economic Perspectives
Edited by François Lévêque and Howard Shelanski
Chapter 2: European Competition Policy and Regulation: Differences, Overlaps, and Constraints
John Temple Lang1 INTRODUCTION This chapter compares and contrasts competition law and regulatory regimes under European Community directives. It also considers some procedural and substantive aspects of the coexistence of national regulatory regimes with European competition policy and competition law rules. The chapter suggests, and explains, the following broad conclusions: ● ● Competition law and regulatory policies, whether EU or national, have different objectives, they are applied (in general) by different authorities in accordance with different procedures and on the basis of different analysis and different legislation, and they are subject to different constraints under EU legal principles. They may be subject to judicial review by different courts. They do not conflict, and in some situations they can be applied simultaneously and can bring about similar results. But it is incorrect to confuse them. Some examples of cases in which the Commission has exceeded its powers under competition law, to achieve essentially regulatory objectives, are given. The objectives of competition law in Europe are limited to preventing measures, whether private or governmental, which restrict competition unjustifiably. Regulatory regimes can be designed to promote a wide variety of objectives, subject to certain constraints. Some of these constraints are imposed by the European Community directives which harmonize regulation of certain industries, and which are intended to prevent, among other things, over-regulation. Other constraints, which also apply to national competition authorities, are imposed by generally applicable principles of European law. Broadly, these constraints are designed to 20 European competition policy and regulation 21 ● ● ● ● ● ● ● prevent protectionist...
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