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Antitrust

Empowering National Competition Authorities

Overview

The European Commission and Member States' national competition authorities work closely on enforcing the EU antitrust rules in the framework of the European Competition Network (ECN).

This network underpins the coherent application of EU antitrust rules by all enforcers. Since 2004, the Commission and national competition authorities have adopted over 1000 decisions, investigating a broad range of cases in all sectors of the economy. From 2004 till 2014, over 85% of all the decisions that applied EU antitrust rules were taken by national competition authorities. So it's essential that national competition authorities have all the powers they need to apply the EU antitrust rules effectively.

Proposal to make national competition authorities more effective enforcers (ECN+)

On 22 March 2017 the Commission presented a proposal intended to empower Member States' competition authorities to be more effective enforcers (ECN+). The proposal aims to ensure that when applying the same legal basis - the EU antitrust rules - national competition authorities have the appropriate enforcement tools in order to bring about a genuine common competition enforcement area. To that end, the proposal provides for minimum guarantees and standards to empower national competition authorities to reach their full potential.

By ensuring that national competition authorities can act more effectively, the Commission's proposal aims to contribute to the objective of a genuine Single Market, promoting the overall goals of competitive markets that deliver jobs and growth.

The proposal for a Directive has been forwarded to the European Parliament and the Council for adoption.

The Commission carried out a public consultation between November 2015 and February 2016 on empowering the national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers: Replies to the 2015 public consultation

On 19 April 2016, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament and the Commission's Competition Directorate General co-organised a Public Hearing on how to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers.

View the entire Public Hearing.

Download the agenda and the presentations of the panellists.

The Commission's Communication on Ten Years of Council Regulation 1/2003 (COM (2014) 453) identified a number of areas of action to make the national competition authorities more effective enforcers:

  • Communication from the Commission - Ten Years of Antitrust Enforcement under Regulation 1/2003: Achievements and Future Perspectives en pdf
  • Commission Staff Working document - Ten Years of Antitrust Enforcement under Regulation 1/2003 en pdf
  • Commission Staff Working document - Enhancing competition enforcement by the Member States' competition authorities: institutional and procedural issues en pdf
go to European Competition Network site