Article 101 TFEU and the European Green Deal: from effective competition to sustainable competition?

14 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2023

See all articles by Nathan Cambien

Nathan Cambien

University of Antwerp; European Commission Legal Service

Date Written: 2022


In December 2019, the European Commission announced the European Green Deal, which is proclaimed to be a new growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. One of its main objectives is to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. The Green Deal was accompanied by a roadmap of key policies and measures needed to achieve the objectives pursued.

In this context, the Green Deal refers to initiatives such as transport, energy and agriculture, but it does not explicitly mention competition law, except for the proposal to revise the relevant State aid guidelines, including the Environmental and Energy guidelines. Still, although the envisaged measures do not primarily concern the area of EU competition law, the Green Deal may nevertheless have a considerable impact in this area too. Indeed, the Green Deal explicitly states that all EU actions and policies will have to contribute to its objectives, that the policy response must be bold and comprehensive and that it will require intense coordination to exploit the available synergies across all policy areas.

It follows that, in each field of EU competition law, the question arises how its enforcement could contribute to the objectives of the Green Deal. First, this applies to antitrust rules. For example, it is necessary to consider whether the said objectives should be taken into account when assessing anti-competitive agreements between undertakings or the conduct of a dominant undertaking. Second, in the field of merger control, it needs to be considered to what extent the proposed merger is likely to contribute to the objectives of the Green Deal or, on the contrary, to make it more difficult to achieve them. Finally, the assessment of aid measures should take into account whether the proposed aid makes a positive contribution to these objectives.

In this contribution, I will focus on the first aspect, in particular the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements covered by Article 101 TFEU. I will start with a brief general overview of the objectives of EU competition law and the potential role of environmental and climate objectives.

Keywords: European Green Deal, EU Green Deal, European Commission, EU competition law, Young YUFE

Suggested Citation

Cambien, Nathan, Article 101 TFEU and the European Green Deal: from effective competition to sustainable competition? (2022). Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Law Conference Proceedings No. 01/2022 , Available at SSRN: or

Nathan Cambien (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, 2000

European Commission Legal Service ( email )

Rue de la loi

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