Publication Of The ECN+ Directive Aimed At Strengthening European Competition Policy

Author:Ms Isabelle Cottin
Profession:Soulier Avocats

Since the entry into force of Regulation 1/20031 on May 1, 2014, the National Competition Authorities ("NCAs") of the 27 Member States and the European Commission form the "European Competition Network" which aims at ensuring the effective enforcement of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ("TFEU")2.

15 years after entry into force of this Regulation, it appeared necessary to extend it in order to standardize the statuses of the NCAs for the purpose of unifying the enforcement of EU competition law. In this context, Directive 2019/13 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market was published on December 18, 2018

  1. The findings made

    The national involvement of NCAs in the protection against unfair competition The application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU is, in particular, achieved by the European competition network. Generally speaking, the European Commission takes actions when practices or agreements affect competition in at least three Member States while NCAs are involved when competition is affected within their territory.

    The important role played by the NCAs in the protection against unfair competition is now well-established: "NCAs have the expertise on how markets work in their own Member State. That knowledge is of great value when enforcing the competition rules. Action at national level promotes support by society at large for competition enforcement.4"

    The French Competition Authority In 20175 the French Competition Authority issued not less than 605 decisions and opinions, including 307 opinions on regulated professions, 236 merger review decisions, 49 enforcement decisions (anticompetitive practices) and 13 opinions. The total amount of fines levied stands at 497,803,200 euros.

    In its 2018 annual report, the French Competition Authority mentioned among the new perspectives to come the draft Directive ECN+ and acknowledged the necessity to "launch a vast program to bring the powers of various national competition authorities to the "required level"".

    The difficulties encountered by the NCAs The need for standardization of the statuses of the NCAs of the Member States became evident for the purpose of homogenizing the enforcement of EU competition rules since, according to the powers respectively granted to the NCAs, this enforcement has been limited or even restricted in the...

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