Enforcement and Procedure
Edited by Ioannis Lianos and Damien Geradin
Chapter 3: Public enforcement: the ECN – network antitrust enforcement in the European Union
Article 11(1) of Regulation 1/2003 sets forth a foundational principle of EU antitrust enforcement according to which ‘[T]he Commission and the competition authorities of the Member States shall apply the [EU] competition rules in close cooperation’. To give effect to that commitment, Recital 15 provides that ‘[T]he Commission and the competition authorities of the Member States should form together a network of public authorities’. Further references to ‘the network’ – known as the European Competition Network or ‘ECN’ – can be found in Recitals 16, 17 and 18 dealing, respectively, with the exchange of evidentiary materials and the allocation of cases among ECN members. Practically, the functioning of the ECN is regulated by a combination of provisions, specifically Articles 11, 12, 13, 16, 22, 27, 28 and 35 of Regulation 1/2003, complemented by a binding communication known as the ‘ECN Notice’ aimed to clarify ‘the modalities for the cooperation within the network’, as well as by a joint political statement of the Council and the Commission delivered upon the adoption of Regulation 1/2003.
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