Networked Competition Governance in the EU: Delegation, Decentralization or Experimentalist Architecture?
European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW); Bocconi University - Department of Law
March 4, 2010
EXPERIMENTALIST GOVERNANCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION TOWARDS A NEW ARCHITECTURE, C.F. Sabel and J. Zeitlin, eds., Oxford University Press, 2010
The paper focuses on the reforms of the institutional arrangements for implementation of European competition law. The reforms were implemented at the Commission’s initiative and were intended to decentralize implementation and increase the role of member state competition authorities in this process. Nonetheless, the Commission remains a key player in the new European Competition Network, a fact that has been praised by those who emphasise the importance of maintaining coherence, and also criticized by those who argue for a more robust role of member states in shaping EU competition policy. In examining the detailed provisions of the Modernization Regulation together with the available experience about the operation of the competition network, the paper emphasises the novel requirements for reporting of implementation activities and the formalisation of peer evaluation procedures as mechanisms to generate, distil and distribute learning among its members. The need to introduce flexibility in the implementation framework arose not only because EC competition law was to apply to a greater number of different (national) economies, but also because the economic landscape has become more heterogeneous in general. Thus, old policy templates are unlikely to be of assistance to competition decision-makers: while reliance on economic analysis focuses competition enforcement on market outcomes, the static economic toolkit is not always helpful in analyzing competitive effects in highly dynamic markets. In the new production environment, competition decision-makers (including the Commission) can benefit from access to local knowledge about firm capacities for innovation and collaboration. The ECN could therefore be viewed as a vehicle for dynamic coherence: in the absence of a common policy template applicable across national or market contexts, coherence is based on identifying shared objectives, as well as learning about and participating in the review of the efforts of peer authorities.
Keywords: Antitrust, EU, Competition
JEL Classification: K21, L40, D71, D73
Date posted: March 5, 2010