Industrial Policy and Competition Enforcement: Is There, Could There and Should There Be a Nexus?

2012 GCLC Annual Conference, 8-9 November 2012, Residence Palace, Brussels

50 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2013  

Nicolas Petit

University of Liege - School of Law; International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE); University of South Australia - School of Law

Norman Neyrinck

University of Liege

Date Written: February 27, 2013

Abstract

This paper muses on whether there can be, there is, and there should exist a nexus between European Union (“EU”) competition law and industrial policy. A well-known, long lasting grievance in the history of EU competition law is indeed that the European Commission (“the Commission”) has allegedly enforced the competition rules dogmatically, and turned a blind eye on industrial policy considerations. Lately, this policy debate has revived. With the current economic debacle in the Western world, decades of free-market economic policies – including competition policies – inherited from the so-called “Washington consensus” are called into question. In contrast, thriving economic models like Brazil, China, or India where the State interferes with the market at the expense of free competition, are increasingly looked by the “old world” as a possible source of inspiration.

Those new developments justify devoting another paper to the question whether industrial policy considerations could and should inform EU competition enforcement. To address it, we follow a four steps methodology. We first solve definitional issues by describing the various possible meanings of “industrial policy” (I). Second, we follow a legalistic approach to review whether such considerations can, as a matter of positive law, play a role (II). Third, we turn to empirical analysis, to examine if there has been some industrial policy influence in the Commission’s case-law (III). Fourth, we review consequentialist arguments to assess whether industrial policy considerations should play a stronger role in EU competition enforcement (IV).

Keywords: Competition law, Industrial Policy, Economics, European Union, Market Failures, Mergers, Abuse of Dominant Position, Innovation, Efficiency

JEL Classification: K21, L50, L52

Suggested Citation

Petit, Nicolas and Neyrinck, Norman, Industrial Policy and Competition Enforcement: Is There, Could There and Should There Be a Nexus? (February 27, 2013). 2012 GCLC Annual Conference, 8-9 November 2012, Residence Palace, Brussels. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2225903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2225903

Nicolas Petit (Contact Author)

University of Liege - School of Law ( email )

B-4000 Liege
Belgium

International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.laweconcenter.org/contact.html

University of South Australia - School of Law ( email )

GPO Box 2471
Adelaide SA 5001
Australia

Norman Neyrinck

University of Liege ( email )

B-4000 Liege
Belgium

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