How to Give a Meaningful Interpretation to the Efficiency Defence in European Competition Law?

9 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011 Last revised: 1 Nov 2011

See all articles by Pál Szilágyi

Pál Szilágyi

Competition Law Research Centre; Péter Pázmány Catholic University

Date Written: August 31, 2011


The role of the efficiency defence in competition law, particularly in European Union competition law was always heavily debated since the adoption of the first merger regulation in the European Community, later the European Union. According to the current interpretation of the notion of dominance by the ECJ it is not possible to justify a merger creating or strengthening a dominant position based on efficiency justification. Moreover, the structural presumptions underlying the system of merger control prevail in such situations. If the merged undertaking does not have a dominant position, efficiency gains can outweigh the harm to competition on the condition that the benefits reach the consumers. This approach is not only consistent with past case law, but is also reflecting the traditions of the Harvard- and Freiburg Schools. Oligopoly theory suggests that concentration on the market is a very relevant factor and this is reflected in the SIEC test.

This a revised version of the previous working paper under the same title.

Keywords: merger control, efficiencies, efficiency defence, efficiency offence

JEL Classification: K21

Suggested Citation

Szilágyi, Pál, How to Give a Meaningful Interpretation to the Efficiency Defence in European Competition Law? (August 31, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Pál Szilágyi (Contact Author)

Competition Law Research Centre ( email )

Szentkiralyi u. 28.
Budapest, H-1088


Péter Pázmány Catholic University ( email )

Szentkirályi u. 28.
Budapest, 1088


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