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10 - Competition law in the European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Diamond Ashiagbor
Affiliation:
University of London
Nicola Countouris
Affiliation:
University College London
Ioannis Lianos
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

Introduction

The area of competition law has traditionally not been affected by the subsequent modifications of the Founding Treaties. The text of the Treaty of Rome's competition law provisions has stayed substantially the same, albeit with some minor terminological modifications. This seems to be a paradox, as EU competition law has incurred a profound transformation – from a substantive and institutional perspective – during the past twenty years. The most notable moments of this change have been the adoption of a Merger Regulation; the new decentralised approach in the enforcement of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, following the adoption of Regulation 1/2003; and the turn towards a ‘more economic approach’, generated by the publication of a series of new Block exemption regulations and policy guidelines in all areas of competition law. The need for flexibility and quick adjustment to the rapid evolution of the economy and the emergence of a variety of business practices renders the instrument of the Treaty, because of its slow negotiation and ratification process, rather ill-suited for reforming the substance and procedure of competition law. The Commission has thus been offered an important discretion, sometimes exercised jointly with the Council, to frame the appropriate competition law framework that would correspond to the demand of times. The Treaty of Lisbon is not an exception: At first sight, the area of competition law has not been affected by a significant number of changes. Some of the changes brought are minor and essentially cosmetic (II). Nevertheless, some others have the potential to become transformative for competition law in the EU (III).

Cosmetic and minor changes

The Treaty of Lisbon proceeds to the renumbering of the provisions of the Treaty on competition law. The following conversion table indicates the major changes of interest for competition lawyers (Table 10.1).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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