Collusion as Environmental Protection - An Economic Assessment

Journal of Competition Law & Economics, Vol. 17 (2021)

18 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020 Last revised: 15 Sep 2021

See all articles by Cento Veljanovski

Cento Veljanovski

Case Associates; Institute of Economic Affairs

Date Written: August 15, 2021


This article examines the relationship between the environment, sustainability, and European competition law. It shows that the European Commission’s decisional practice not to exempt anticompetitive agreements under Article 101(3) TFEU is because it selectively prosecutes hardcore cartels. The alleged ‘sustainability gap’ in EU antitrust is therefore more apparent than real. It is also shown that the Commission has adopted an efficient enforcement approach given the institutional and budgetary constraints it faces. On the other hand, the Commission’s guidelines on Article 101 TFEU lack coherence and consistency with its overarching Treaty obligations. The pros and cons of expanding Article 101(3) TFEU to take account of the third-party environmental and public policy factors are examined.

Keywords: Article 101TFEU, antitrust, cooperative agreements, cartel, environment, sustainability, pollution, fisheries, open-access resource

JEL Classification: K21, L13, L40, Q01

Suggested Citation

Veljanovski, Cento, Collusion as Environmental Protection - An Economic Assessment (August 15, 2021). Journal of Competition Law & Economics, Vol. 17 (2021), Available at SSRN: or

Cento Veljanovski (Contact Author)

Case Associates ( email )

96 Kensington High Street
London, W8 4SG
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 73764418 (Phone)


Institute of Economic Affairs

2 Lord North Street, Westminster
London, SW1P 3LB
United Kingdom

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