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European Competition Network

Overview

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 which engage in cross-border practices restricting competition. As European competition rules are applied by all members of the ECN, the ECN provides 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. Read more >

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. Read more >

What's new?

9 July 2020 - Statement on ACM public consultation on sustainability guidelines

The European Commission takes note of the public consultation launched by the Dutch Competition Authority (“ACM”) on 9 July 2020, on its revised draft Guidelines on Sustainability agreements. The Commission fully supports the need for clear guidance on agreements aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would be compatible with competition law.

The aim of ACM’s the revision of the draft Guidelines on Sustainability agreements is to ensure that the competition rules do not stand in the way of agreements aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With this consultation, ACM is seeking the public’s view on its proposed approach including an interpretation of Article 101(3) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and its Dutch equivalent (Article 6(3) of the Dutch Competition Act) that would enable the ACM to balance any negative effects of anti-competitive behaviour for the consumers concerned (e.g. a price increase) against benefits incurred by the resulting reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – not only for the consumers buying the relevant products but also for the society as a whole.

The European Commission is currently looking into the same issues as part of the review of the two Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and the Horizontal Co-operation Guidelines. In particular, the Commission, in line with the Commission’s Better Regulation requirements, ran a public consultation inviting stakeholders to comment on, amongst other things, the efficiency, effectiveness and relevance of the current regulations and the accompanying guidelines on horizontal co-operation agreements. In the framework of this review, some stakeholders have expressed similar views about the need to provide guidance on agreements on sustainability issues (including environmental issues). Contributions to the public consultation, together with a factual summary have been published on DG Competition’s website. The Commission will continue its reflections on these issues, both with external stakeholders and within the European Competition Network (ECN), to provide further clarity and arrive at a uniform approach.

Background

The European Green Deal is our roadmap for making the EU's economy sustainable. We can achieve this by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas, including competition policy, and making the transition just and inclusive for all.

23 March 2020

Statement: Antitrust: joint statement by the European competition authorities on the Corona crisis

30 May 2018

Statement: Commission welcomes provisional political agreement reached by European Parliament and Council on new rules to make national competition authorities even more effective enforcers

06 April 2017

Report on ECN monitoring exercise in the online hotel booking sector

On 6 April 2017, the Commission and ten national competition authorities published a report on online hotel booking. The report presents the results of a coordinated monitoring exercise carried out by the Belgian, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish and UK national competition authorities and the European Commission during 2016. The results highlight the impact of antitrust enforcement measures adopted in this sector in recent years.

22 March 2017

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. 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.

  • Proposal for a Directive to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market en de fr
  • Press release: Commission proposal to make national competition authorities even more effective enforcers for the benefit of jobs and growth EN
    FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL CS ET HU LT LV MT PL SK SL BG RO HR

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