The European Commission and the national competition authorities in all EU Member States cooperate with each other through the European Competition Network (ECN).
This creates an effective mechanism to counter companies that engage in cross-border practices restricting competition. All members of the ECN apply European competition rules and the ECN provides a means to ensure their effective and consistent application. Through the ECN, the competition authorities inform each other of proposed decisions and take on board comments from the other competition authorities. In this way, the ECN allows the competition authorities to pool their experience and identify best practices.
The ECN was established as a forum for discussion and cooperation for European competition authorities in cases where Articles 101 and and 102 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union are applied. The ECN ensures an efficient division of work and an effective and consistent application of EU competition rules. The European Commission and the competition authorities from EU member states cooperate with each other through the ECN by:
- informing each other of new cases and envisaged enforcement decisions;
- coordinating investigations, where necessary;
- helping each other with investigations;
- exchanging evidence and other information; and
- discussing various issues of common interest.
The objective of the ECN Network is to build an effective legal framework to enforce EC competition law against companies that engage in cross-border business practices that restrict competition and are harmful to consumers.
Within the ECN, groups of experts in specific sectors discuss competition problems and promote a common approach. In this way, the ECN allows competition authorities to pool their experience and identify best practices.
The Members of the ECN have also engaged in cooperation and exchange of best practices in the area of merger control by setting up an EU Merger Working Group.