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Academic Articles Awards > Mergers

A Comparative Assessment Of The EU’s Reforms To Merger Control And Antitrust Enforcement

Nicholas Levy, Sven Frisch and Alexander Waksman, European Competition Journal, November 2015

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Readers’ vote will close on February 15, 2016. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 5, 2016.

In the early 2000’s, EU merger control and EU antitrust enforcement each underwent significant change. The scale and scope of those changes was, however, very different. The changes made to Council Regulation 4064/89 (the “Merger Regulation”) were relatively modest, albeit important to address criticisms of the Commission’s then-current enforcement practice in the wake of the EU courts’ judgments in Airtours, Schneider, and Tetra Laval. By contrast, the reform of EU antitrust enforcement and the adoption of Council Regulation 1/2003, the legal instrument implementing Articles 1014 and 1025 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) that replaced Council Regulation 17/62, effected sweeping and ambitious change by ending the notification system that had been a feature of EU competition practice for 40 years and decentralizing the enforcement of EU competition law. In many ways, both sets of reforms achieved their objectives. However, while enforcement practice under the Merger Regulation has become increasingly mature and settled in the intervening period, the Commission’s application of Articles 101 and 102 has in certain respects become less predictable as new issues and challenges have arisen. Written to mark the 25th anniversary of the Merger Regulation, this article describes the evolution in the Commission’s application of that Regulation, explains the reforms adopted in the early 2000’s to EU merger control and EU antitrust enforcement, contrasts the extent to which those reforms succeeded in achieving their objectives, and considers the challenges that remain.

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