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Facing the challenges of globalisation

In today’s globalised economy, companies operate increasingly across national borders. A growing number of merger transactions have an international dimension, affecting markets in several countries, often in different continents. The integration of national economies also enables companies to organise cartels and other anti-competitive practices on an international or even global basis. An effective enforcement of EU competition policy in a global environment therefore requires intensive cooperation with competition authorities outside the EU.

The European Commission cooperates closely with competition authorities of countries outside the EU for many years, and this both on policy and enforcement issues of mutual interest. Our main objective has been to promote convergence of competition policy instruments and practices across jurisdictions and to facilitate cooperation with competition authorities in other jurisdictions in enforcement activities.

Cooperation with other competition authorities takes place at two levels.

At bilateral level, the Commission has engaged in a wide range of cooperation activities with competition authorities in a number of third countries on the basis of bilateral agreements or memoranda of understanding. The nature of the cooperation activity varies between countries and can cover coordination of enforcement actions, sharing of information on cases of mutual interest, dialogue on competition policy issues and, in some cases, also capacity building support. A special aspect in this context is our cooperation with enlargement countries.

In addition, the Commission participates actively in the competition-related activities of a number of multilateral organisations such as the International Competition Network (ICN) (see also ICN Cartel Working Group), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UNCTAD, the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The main emphasis is on the promotion of policy convergence through dialogue and exchange of views on broader policy and enforcement issues, and in some cases through the establishment of recommended practices.

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